Pakistan’s army chief stressed Monday the need to avoid conflict with India, days after he ordered troops toward the rivals’ shared border amid tensions following last month’s terror attacks on Mumbai.
Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani made the remarks to a top Chinese diplomat who was visiting Islamabad to try and ease the situation between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India.
Kayani‘s remarks were believed to be his first about the tensions with Pakistan’s traditional rival and could help reassure a jittery region that the country does not intend to escalate the crisis further.
On Friday, Pakistani intelligence officials said thousands of troops were being shifted toward the Indian border, though there has been no sign yet of a major build up at the frontier.
Without referring specifically to the situation, Kayani told Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei of the “need to de-escalate and avoid conflict in the interest of peace and security,” a brief army statement said.
India blames Pakistani militants for the slaughter of 164 people in its commercial capital and has not ruled out the use of force in its response. Pakistan’s civilian leaders have said they do not want war, but will retaliate if attacked.