Thursday, 18 April, 2019

Pakistan to release captured Indian pilot as 'peace gesture'

China has twice blocked — in 2016 and 2017 — attempts to impose sanctions on Masood Azhar China has twice blocked — in 2016 and 2017 — attempts to impose sanctions on Masood Azhar
Leonard Rios | 01 March, 2019, 05:43

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement he had spoken separately with the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan and urged them to "prioritise direct communication and avoid further military activity".

Pakistan in return claimed to have shot down two Indian war planes.

On Wednesday, India's finance minister, Arun Jaitley, suggested at a news conference that Indian special forces carry out secret missions to capture terrorist leaders in Pakistan, invoking the 2011 U.S. Navy Seal operation to kill al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Pakistan's provocations in the region and its alliance with groups like the jihadist terror network in which the bomber claimed membership provides a constant source of tension.

The target was a camp run by Jaish-e-Mohammed which claimed responsibility for the February 14 suicide vehicle bombing in Kashmir killing 40 members of India's security forces.

One day after Surgical Strike 2, on Wednesday morning, Pakistan Air Force tried to intrude Indian airspace and while Indian Air Force chased them out taking down one of the PAF jets, PAF managed to strike one of the Indian fighter jets and now have the pilot Commander Abhinandan Varthaman in their custody.

He explained that the violent rhetoric seen online and the actions of the Kashmiri villagers who beat up the Indian pilot isn't representative of the wider population in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

India also said it shot down a Pakistani warplane, something Islamabad denied. He called for dialogue with India over Kashmir, the Himalayan territory that has been the catalyst for three wars since independence in...

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"I am hopeful that we can take down the tension there, at least for the time being, so they can begin to have conversations that don't portend risk of escalation to either of the two countries", he noted, adding that the United States was "working hard on that". India is demanding the release of one of its pilots who was captured.

His Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, however, has been notably silent amid the recent crisis, saying only that "India will fight, live, work and win as one" at a press conference that made no mention of negotiations to cool down the heated feud. "The region will prosper if there is peace and stability".

An Indian Border Security Force soldier stands at a fence on the India-Pakistan border, near Amritsar.

While the world waits with bated breath over the current rising action in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir regions of India and Pakistan, Malaysia's foreign offices have issued warnings for all of the country's citizens to leave the region with immediate effect.

Several airlines, including Emirates and Qatar Airways, suspended flights to Pakistan and others, such as Singapore Airlines and British Airways, were forced to reroute flights.

Behind him were arrayed the photos of the 40 officers killed in the February 14 attack. The most recent episode, sparked by an attack on Indian paramilitary police by a Pakistan-based militant group, has left dozens dead.

A number of civilians were also killed in cross-border shelling.

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