MOSCOW, March 1. /TASS/. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said Islamabad is ready to accept Moscow's offer to act as a mediator between Pakistan and India.
"[Russian Foreign Minister Sergey] Lavrov has offered to mediate. I don't know about India, but I want to say this to Russia that Pakistan is ready to come to the table and de-escalate tensions," the Dawn newspaper quotes him as saying.
On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia was ready to suggest hosting the talks between India and Pakistan to achieve settlement, if they wished that.
Tensions in relations between India and Pakistan flared up on February 14 when a suicide attacker rammed his car filled with explosives into an Indian paramilitary convoy in Jammu and Kashmir, killing 45. The Jaish-e-Mohammed group claimed responsibility for the attack.
On Tuesday, India carried out an airstrike on this group’s camp in a Kashmir area controlled by Pakistan. On Wednesday, the Pakistani Air Force retaliated by targeting military facilities of Jammu and Kashmir. New Delhi and Islamabad also claimed that they had shot down each other’s jets during a dogfight.
The situation in Jammu and Kashmir - the only Indian state where Muslims constitute a majority - has been tense for years. Groups calling for breaking away from India have been active in its Indian part. New Delhi accuses Islamabad of supporting terrorists, while Pakistan rejects these claims.