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India: Cardinal Gracias Urges Mediation with Pakistan

March 01, 2019. ‘We pray and work for peace between India and Pakistan’

“We pray and work for peace between India and Pakistan, we call on the rulers to choose the path of dialogue, the situation today is very delicate and we must not make false or hurried steps. We condemn any act of terrorism against Indian forces. But we say ‘no’ to any war option: we must work for a peaceful solution, in favor of South Asia and will be meaningful for the whole world.”

This is what Cardinal Oswald Gracias Archbishop of Mumbai and President of the Episcopal Conference of India, (CBCI) told Fides News Agency, which reported his comments on February 28, 2019.

Tensions remain high in India and Pakistan. After the terrorist attack of February 14, claimed by a jihadist group, India launched an air raid against militants in Pakistani territory and Pakistan shot down two Indian military jets, capturing a pilot.

In a situation of increasing radicalization and possible escalation of war, “it is clear that the mediation of a third actor is necessary, because the two countries, on the wave of growing internal nationalism, are unable to find a meeting point”, Michael Gonsalves, an Indian Catholic journalist and analyst of Pune (in the state of Maharashtra) and former president of the Indian Catholic Press Association, told Fides. “I think the only possible and effective actor that can mediate is the United States. In India, after the attack on February 14th, a wave of popular outrage has demanded a strong reaction from the government and the Indian armed forces. It is true that the government of Narendra Modi will be able to benefit from it in view of the political elections in May, but it is also true that today the executive – on this issue of Kashmir – has received the support of the whole political spectrum and public opinion. Therefore it is fully legitimized.”

The journalist observed: “As Indian Catholic,s we ask to explore a path of peace that puts an end to the old hostilities and seeks, between India and Pakistan, the path of political agreement, which must start from a serious fight against terrorism on behalf of Pakistan.”