ISLAMABAD -  The United States has assured Pakistan that it will play its role to defuse tension between Pakistan and India, officials sources said.

A senior official at the foreign ministry told The Nation that Washington was concerned about Pakistan’s tension with India and Afghanistan.

“We have been seeking their (US) help on both fronts and they have assured us to be helpful. The first target is India. Washington has promised to help defuse Pak-India tension,” he said.

The military said on Sunday that India had violated the Line of Control (LoC) again and targeted civilian settlements in Rawalakot. The two sides also summoned each other’s deputy high commissioners over the weekend on the LoC firing.

Ties between Pakistan and India have been tense since last July when the Indian forces killed freedom fighter Burhan Wani. The tension reached dangerous levels in September when 19 Indian soldiers were killed in Uri in an attack. India blamed Pakistan for supporting the attackers. Pakistani denied the allegation.

There have been skirmishes along the LoC since the Uri attack with causalities and injuries on both the sides. Kashmir, the bone of contention between the two nuclear powers, is divided between Pakistan and India since 1947 when they gained independence from the British rule.

Last week, Commander of the United States Central Command Gen Joseph Votel criticised India’s policy of “diplomatic isolation of Pakistan.” Gen Votel warned this policy could be a hurdle to better ties between Pakistan and India.

General Votel - testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee at a hearing – said: “This (the Indian policy) is especially troubling as a significant conventional conflict between Pakistan and India could escalate into a nuclear exchange, given that both are nuclear powers.”

The official at the foreign ministry said that Washington seemed to understand Pakistan’s point of view on Pak-India tension and had promised to help in ‘whatever way’ it can.

“Of course, it will be through diplomatic channels. We understand the US values India too so it won’t pressurise it rather Washington will use its influence to defuse tension,” he added.

Another official at the foreign ministry said that Pakistan had been pleading its case before the world powers and the United Nations and trying to expose the Indian excesses in Kashmir.

“We have told the US, the UN and others that we dearly want peace but unless the Kashmir issue is resolved, there cannot be a lasting peace. We have also asked them to help stop Indian brutalities in Kashmir,” he said.

International relations expert Pervez Iqbal Cheema said that Pak-India conflict could explode into a nuclear war which was dangerous for the whole world.

“We are engaged on two borders now. The eastern border (with India) is also hot while terrorists are testing us on the western border (with Afghanistan). The US must use its influence to improve Pak-India ties,” he said.

Cheema said that the UN should also play a role of a peacemaker and also help resolve the Kashmir issue.

Former ambassador Mushtaq Ahmed Mehar said that if the leakage of a nuclear reactor in India could affect even European countries, a nuclear war between Pakistan and India could be catastrophic for the whole world.

He said that Pakistan and India had more than 500 nuclear bombs and in case of a war, these could possibly be used. “It will be risky for the whole world. The influential powers need to bring India to the talks table,” he added.

Mehr said that a nuclear war would mainly affect the region which included the countries who were working for peace. “I think (US President) Donald Trump is a businessman and will definitely put his efforts to bring Pakistan and India closer. This suits the US,” he remarked.