Thursday, 18 April, 2019

Pakistan Air Force downs two Indian aircraft

Wreckage of downed Indian Air Force jet.-Radio Pakistan Wreckage of downed Indian Air Force jet.-Radio Pakistan
Leonard Rios | 01 March, 2019, 03:29

The air strikes by the IAF on Jaish-e-Mohammed's biggest terror camp in Pakistan on Tuesday was in retaliation to the February 14 attack in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir, which had over 40 Indian CRPF troopers dead.

The last two days of air strikes represent the worst escalation since 2001, when Pakistan and India moved ballistic missiles and troops to their border following an attack on parliament in New Delhi that was also blamed on Jaish-e-Mohammad.

India said Wednesday that a fighter pilot of the Indian Air Force was missing in action after his aircraft was "lost" following fighting with Pakistani fighter jets in Jammu and Kashmir.

One fell inside Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, and the other crashed on India's side of the Line of Control, said military spokesman Asif Ghafoor.

Radio Pakistan released a video which it claims is of a captured Indian pilot.

The country's foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday morning that it had struck a "non-military target" across the ceasefire line in Kashmir without entering Indian airspace to demonstrate its "right, will and capability for self defence".

No further details were immediately available.

As per to the reports, when Pakistan Air Force's F-16 fighter jets attempted to violate the Indian airspace, it was a Sukhoi Su-30 aircraft that chased it away.

"Our ground forces arrested two pilots; one of them was injured and has been shifted to CMH [Combined Military Hospital] and, God-willing, he will be taken care of", said the army official.

The latest exchanges hit stock markets in both countries.

India's rupee reversed early gains to trade 0.3 per cent lower as of 4:45 p.m.in Mumbai, while Pakistan's benchmark stock index ended at its lowest level since January 7. The Indian stock market was down about 0.5 percent.

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Former Pakistan president General Pervez Musharraf speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations on November 2, 2011 in NY . India accuses Pakistan of harbouring the JeM and has vowed a strong response to the attack.

The downing of the Indian aircraft came on a chaotic day that also saw mortar shells fired by Indian troops from across the frontier dividing the two sectors of Kashmir kill six civilians and wound several others.

Five Indian soldiers suffered minor wounds in the shelling that ended on Wednesday morning, he added.

"We have an evacuation plan in place and if need arises we will evacuate people to safer areas", he said.

At least four Pakistani civilians were killed late on Tuesday in the cross-border fire between the two nuclear-armed South Asian rivals.

Kashmir is split between Pakistan and India and claimed by both in its entirety.

Meanwhile, security forces clashed with militants in Indian-administered Kashmir early Wednesday, killing two insurgents, according to a security spokesman.

While India has consistently accused its neighbour of supporting extremist groups, Pakistan has equally vehemently denied any role in attacks in India and its only Muslim-majority state, Kashmir.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke separately with the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan and urged them to avoid "further military activity" following Tuesday's airstrike.

Flight operations were suspended across major airports in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday, in wake of the escalating tensions between Pakistan and India. "To avoid further military action, this is a unsafe cycle of escalation", Senator Payne said.

The escalation has triggered global alarm, with China and the European Union also calling for restraint.

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