Indian soldiers and Kashmiri onlookers stand near the remains of an Indian Air Force helicopter after it crashed.
TAUSEEF MUSTAFA AFP Getty Images
03 March, 2019, 00:17
The IAF pilot was captured by Pakistan after an air combat Wednesday during which the two sides said they shot down each other's warplanes that followed an unsuccessful attempt to target Indian military installations in retaliatory strikes that sparked fears of war.
The Pakistani Air Force, on Wednesday, explicitly violated the Indian Air space by sending in jets in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch and Nowshera areas. "It is unfortunate that instead of fulfilling its worldwide obligation and bilateral commitment to take credible action against terrorist entities and individuals operating from its soil, Pakistan has acted with aggression against India", the MEA said.
After an aerial engagement in the J&K's Nowshera sector on Wednesday, Pakistan claimed that it has captured one Indian pilot, identified as Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, a MiG 21 Bison pilot.
Mohammad Faisal of the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted on Twitter that the "sole goal of this action was to demonstrate our right, will and capability for self defence". Pakistan has claimed that he has a pilot. "We are ascertaining the facts", it added.
There was no reply from Modi, but India acknowledged one of its air force planes was "lost" in skirmishes with Pakistan and that its pilot was "missing in action". In the latter half of the day, a video of him "being treated well" was also circulated.
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Ghafoor, the Pakistani military spokesman, said the strikes were aimed at "avoiding human loss and collateral damage".
Director General of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor addressed a press conference earlier today and said Pakistan wants peace and India needs to understand war is a failure of policy.
Meanwhile, as the tensions and confrontation escalated between India and Pakistan, authorities asked workers to paint rooftops of hospitals and clinics in red and white with medical emblem of cross in Srinagar city.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May also shared her feeling and said - "The UK is deeply concerned about rising tensions between India and Pakistan and urgently calls for restraint on both sides to avoid further escalation". An Indian military statement said that "out of anger and frustration", Pakistan initiated an "unprovoked cease-fire violation". The terrorist group was also behind the Feb.14 suicide bombing at an Indian paramilitary convoy in Kashmir that killed scores of soldiers.
Morning headlines from Pakistan's dailies had warned of possible retaliation from Pakistan for the Indian Air Force's airstrikes against Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Balakot.
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The injured pilot was being treated at a military hospital, Ghafoor told a news conference in the garrison town of Rawalpindi. Pakistan said it had "taken strikes at [a] non-military target, avoiding human loss and collateral damage".
New Delhi has accused Pakistan of shielding militant group Jaish e Mohammad, which has claimed responsibility for the attack . An infuriated Islamabad denied casualties or damage, but a day later launched its own incursion across the LoC.
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Two Pakistani army soldiers were killed in Nakiyal sector in one cross border exchange of fire, the Pakistan military said. When he crossed over to India Friday night, Abhinandan's right eye above his handlebar moustache appeared swollen.
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The escalation has triggered global alarm, with China and the European Union also calling for restraint. Kashmir is split between Pakistan and India and claimed by both in its entirety.