India-Pakistan conflict continues on day two following IAF attacks on camps across Kashmir border. Cross-border attacks escalate; India military jet crashes, Pakistani jets violate Indian airspace and drop bombs according to reports.
Pakistan Air Force targeted India’s military installations; one Indian pilot missing
Accusing Pakistan Air Force of targeting Indian military installations, India on Wednesday said the attack was foiled successfully but one MIG fighter jet was shot down in the aerial confrontation and a pilot is “missing in action”.
In a very brief press statement, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, accompanied by Air Vice Marshal R G K Kapoor, said details are also being ascertained about Pakistan’s claim of having captured one Indian pilot.
The fresh confrontation came a day after Indian Air Force launched a counter-terrorism action against a training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Pakistan, based on credible evidence that the UN-proscribed terror group intended to launch terror attacks.
The JeM had taken the responsibility of the terror strike in Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14, in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.
Against the Indian counter-terrorism action, “Pakistan has responded this morning (Wednesday) by using its Air Force to target military installations on the Indian side. Due to our high state of readiness and alertness, Pakistan’s attempts were foiled successfully,” Kumar said.
He said the Pakistan Air Force action was detected and the Indian Air Force responded instantly.
“In that aerial engagement, one Pakistan Air Force fighter aircraft was shot down by a MiG 21 Bison of the Indian Air Force. The Pakistani aircraft was seen by ground forces falling from the sky on the Pakistan side.
“In this engagement, we have unfortunately lost one MiG 21. The pilot is missing in action. Pakistan has claimed that he is in their custody. We are ascertaining the facts,” he said.
Both officials did not take any questions from the media.
Soon after the Indian statement, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan did a live TV address and favored talks to resolve the issues between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.
He, however, claimed that two Indian MIGs crossed the Line of Control and they were shot down.
‘We can do the same’
“Our action was only intended to convey that if you can come into our country, we can do the same. Two of their MiGs were shot down (in the ensuing action),” Khan said.
Noting that all wars are miscalculated, and no one knows where they lead to, Khan said that better sense must prevail and the two sides should act with wisdom.
“I ask India: with the weapons you have and the weapons we have, can we really afford a miscalculation? If this (situation) escalates, it will no longer be in my control or in (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi’s,” Khan said.
Call for peace
“Let’s sit together and settle this with talks,” he added. Before the MEA briefing, the Pakistan Army had released a 46-second video showing a blindfolded man claiming that he is IAF’s Wing Commander Abhinandan. “I am an IAF officer. My service No is 27981,” the man is seen as saying in the video.
However, the veracity of the video could not be ascertained.
The heightened tension also saw Pakistan shutting down its entire airspace and India closing down civilian air traffic in most of its northern region temporarily.