Pakistan released a captured Indian Air Force pilot Friday in a peace gesture aimed at defusing tensions with India.

The release of the pilot may be the first step in defusing tensions between the neighbours.

With both sides claiming to have downed the other's warplanes after a suicide bombing killed 40 Indian troops, world powers are calling for cooler heads to prevail.

India, which claimed the strike hit a militant camp in Balakot, had warned of retaliation after a recent suicide bombing in Kashmir killed 40 Indian security personnel.

The flareup along the Pakistan-India border could undermine peace efforts in Afghanistan, diplomats warn.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman pledged $20 billion in investment projects and ordered the immediate release of over 2,000 Pakistanis from Saudi jails.

The two-day state visit is set to start February 16.

Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad's recent visit to Pakistan was meant to push the Pakistani authorities to convince the Taliban to engage in direct talks the Afghan government.

The delegation expressed Afghanistan's desire to work closely with Pakistan on finding a political solution to peace with the Taliban.

Iran reportedly has recruited more than 1,600 Pakistanis in the past six months to fight in its militias in Syria and is running influence campaigns in an attempt to change Pakistani public opinion.

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