(Web Desk) – United Nations Secretary-General on Wednesday expressed serious concern about the recent escalation of violence along the Line of Control between India and Pakistan, which reportedly resulted in a number of casualties on both sides, including civilians.
“The Secretary-General calls upon the Governments of India and Pakistan to exercise maximum restraint and take all feasible steps to ensure the protection of civilians,” reads a statement issued by a UN spokesperson.
The Secretary-General urged both countries to continue to address their differences through dialogue.
“In that regard, he welcomes the planned meeting between their respective National Security Advisors on 23-24 August, and expresses the hope that it will lead to positive outcomes,” the spokesperson said
The UN has long maintained an institutional presence in the contested area between the two countries.
According to the Security Council mandate given in resolution 307 of 1971, the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) observes and reports on ceasefire violations along and across the Line of Control and the working boundary between the South Asian neighbours in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as reports developments that could lead to ceasefire violations.
UNMOGIP currently comprises 40 military observers and a number of civilian staff members.
Despite a 2003 cease-fire, the two neighbors regularly trade fire.
Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan but claimed in its entirety by both. The countries have fought two of their three wars over their competing claims to Kashmir.
The recent fighting comes even as the top security advisers of both countries are scheduled to meet in the Indian capital on Aug. 23. The two sides are expected to talk about combating terrorism in the region.