In its first reaction after Indian Air Force jets pounded a terrorist camp across the Line of Control days after the Pulwama terror attack, China on Tuesday urged New Delhi and Islamabad to "exercise restraint".
"We hope that both India and Pakistan can exercise restraint and adopt actions that will help stabilise the situation in the region and improve mutual relations," China's foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said, according to news agency PTI.
India carried out "non-military, pre-emptive air strikes" across the Line of Control early this morning to target the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed, which was planning more attacks in the country after Pulwama, government officials in New Delhi said.
India struck the biggest camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed and a "very large number" of terrorists were eliminated, said Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale.
Some 300 terrorists were killed in the Indian Air Force strike at around 3.30 am, top government sources told NDTV. Twelve Mirage 2000 fighter jets dropped 1,000 kg bombs on the camp at Balakot. India has started the process of briefing major world powers about Tuesday's air strikes.
The Jaish-e-Mohammed was responsible for the February 14 terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama, in which 40 soldiers were killed.
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said: "This was grave aggression by India against Pakistan. This is a violation of LoC and Pakistan has the right to retaliate and self-defence".
After the Pulwama attack, China had expressed "deep sympathies" to the families of the 40 CRPF men. In its condolence message to Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had said that his country "resolutely opposes and strongly condemns all forms of terrorism", but the statement did not make any reference to Pakistan.
The self-described "all weather" ally of Pakistan also tried to stall a United Nations Security Council statement naming Jaish-e-Mohammed after the Pulwama attack. China has long used its veto power to scuttle a move by India at the UN to put Jaish-e-Mohammed founder Masood Azhar on a global terror list.