FSB: India, Pakistan Mull Counter-Terrorism Cooperation Despite Tense Relations
TASHKENT (Sputnik) - The intelligence services of India and Pakistan are interested in cooperation in combating terrorism despite a recent escalation of tensions between the two countries, Sergei Smirnov, the first deputy director of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), said Friday.
Smirnov's statement comes after a meeting of the Council of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of the Shanghai Cooperation (SCO) in Tashkent. The SCO currently comprises eight member states, including Russia, India and Pakistan.
"Despite the well-known political events, that are currently taking place, the interest of the intelligence agencies [of India and Pakistan] in [holding] meetings and exchanging information is really high", Smirnov said responding to a relevant question.
Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated last month, after the Pakistani military shot down two Indian warplanes in the disputed region of Kashmir, responding to an earlier airstrike by Indian aircraft against what New Delhi said was a camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad group, considered terrorists by India and located on the Pakistani soil across the so-called Line of Control, separating India- and Pakistan- controlled areas of Kashmir.
The Indian airstrike came after a deadly 14 February attack by Jaish-e-Mohammad on the Indian paramilitary police force in Kashmir in mid-February. While India has accused Pakistan of supporting the militants and having a "direct hand" in the incident, Pakistan, in turn, has rejected the allegations.
The Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack. The group, which used to perpetrate attacks in the Jammu and Kashmir state, is affiliated with Taliban movement and al-Qaeda terrorist organization and aims to separate Kashmir from India and to merge it into neighboring Pakistan.
Jammu and Kashmir is a region that has been disputed by India and Pakistan since 1947 when both countries gained independence from the British Empire. The two countries have gone through three wars over the region, but the conflict has not been resolved. The unstable situation in the region has led to the emergence of extremist groups.
*al-Qaeda, Taliban are terrorist groups banned in Russia and many other countries.
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