London:  Days ahead of Prime Minister Theresa May’s India visit, the UK on Tuesday hailed Pakistan’s “significant sacrifices” in combating terror while responding to a petition calling on the British government to “strongly condemn” Pakistan for providing a safe haven for terrorists.

“We recognise the significant sacrifices that Pakistan and its people have made in combating terrorism. We are helping Pakistan develop its capacity to protect itself and prosecute those who plan and commit terrorist attacks,” it said.

The petition titled ‘UK Government to strongly condemn Pakistan or providing safe haven for terrorists’ on the official government website had crossed the 10,000 signatures required to make it incumbent upon the UK government to respond.

“Pakistan has made significant sacrifices in opposing terrorism. The UK has regularly raised with Pakistan the need to take consistent action against all terrorist groups operating within its borders,” the response from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) read.

“The UK regularly highlights to Pakistan, at the highest level, the importance of taking effective action against all terrorist groups operating in Pakistan, as Pakistan has committed to do,” the response said.

The petition, authored by an Indian-origin professional Naman Paropkari, was launched with the aim of gathering as many as 100,000 signatures by the 29 March, 2017, deadline so that the issue is considered for a parliamentary debate in the House of Commons.

May is scheduled to arrive in India on 6 November for a three-day visit, which will include a bilateral dialogue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The UK’s lauding of Pakistan’s “significant sacrifices” in combating terrorism comes a day after China staunchly defended its all-weather ally from Prime Minister Modi’s terming of Pakistan as a “mothership of terrorism”, saying it is against linking any country or religion with terror. China also asked the world to acknowledge Pakistan’s “great sacrifices”.