France, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, on Tuesday urged India and Pakistan to “exercise restraint” to avert the risk of military escalation, but backed India in its fight against terrorism.

The statement comes hours after India confirmed it had carried out a “non-military preemptive action” against the biggest camp of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed militant outfit across the border.

France’s Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs in a statement said it recognised “India’s legitimacy in ensuring security against cross-border terrorism”. It called on Pakistan “to put an end to the activities of the terrorist groups established in its territory”.

It also condemned the suicide attack in Pulwama, South Kashmir, in which 40 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force were killed.

“France, which stands alongside India in the fight against terrorism in all its forms, is fully committed to mobilising the international community to punish the terrorists responsible for this attack and to block their channels of financing,” it said. France also called for resumption of talks between Islamabad and Delhi, saying dialogue was necessary to “launch efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution to the disputes”.

Advising restraint

The European Union called for “maximum restraint” from the two countries, reported AFP. “We remain in contact with both countries [and] what we believe is essential, is that all exercise maximum restraint and avoid further escalation of tensions,” said EU spokesperson Maja Kocijancic.

Australia said India and Pakistan should “exercise restraint, avoid any action which would endanger peace and security in the region and engage in dialogue to ensure that these issues are resolved peacefully”, reported ANI.

China too urged both countries to “exercise restraint” in its first reaction to Indian air strikes across the Line of Control. China asked New Delhi to fight against terrorism through international cooperation.