Pakistan shoots down Indian jets, carries out airstrikes in Kashmir

April FrancisFeb 28, 2019

The Indian news agency ANI reported on Wednesday that a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet was also shot down on Pakistan's of the ceasefire line dividing the two armies in Kashmir. UK PM Theresa May said her country is "deeply concerned about rising tensions between India and Pakistan" and urged "dialogue and diplomatic solutions to ensure regional stability".

Pakistan has rejected the allegations of its involvement in the attack and said that this was New Delhi's strategy to divert global attention from human rights violations taking place in the Kashmir region. "If they respond with aggression, we will be forced to respond", he said.

"All wars in world history have been miscalculated, those who started the wars did not know where it will end".

Pompeo said in a statement he had spoken to foreign ministers from Indian and Pakistan and "encouraged both Ministers to prioritize direct communication and avoid further military activity".

Pakistan shot down two Indian Air Force planes in its airspace in Kashmir on Wednesday, a military spokesman said, adding that one Indian pilot had been captured.

Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor says Pakistani troops on ground captured the Indian pilot. The pilot is missing in action. Tuesday's airstrikes show he is "willing to take on risk to respond to Pakistan's terrorist provocations", said Alyssa Ayres, a senior fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations and former USA state department South Asia.

The latest wave of tensions erupted after a pre-dawn strike by Indian aircraft Tuesday on Pakistani territory.

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Indian news reports said airports in the Indian portion of Kashmir closed for civilian traffic shortly after the air force jet crashed. "If this escalates, things will no longer be in my control or in Modi's", the prime minister said.

Despite claims about wanting to avoid escalation, a mood of belligerent triumph spread across Pakistani news stations and online Wednesday. "Regret was expressed at continuing denial by Pakistan's political and military leadership at the presence of terrorist infrastructure in territories under its control", stated the MEA. Indian media have given his name as Abhinandan Varthaman.

Pakistan closed its airspace Wednesday, the country's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the military said, as fears spiked of an all-out conflict with nuclear-armed neighbour India. In a statement released to the media, the MEA also "strongly objected to Pakistan's vulgar display of an injured personnel of the Indian Air Force in violation of all norms of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Convention".

India has also continued its crackdown on suspected militants operating in Kashmir, and on Wednesday security forces killed two Jaish militants in a gun battle, Indian police said. India and Pakistan have fought three major wars since partition and independence in 1947.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan called Wednesday for peace talks between the two nations.

Pakistan says Indian warplanes dropped bombs near the town of Balakot but that there were no casualties. Ghafoor says the other pilot is in custody. "Pakistan has taken strikes at non-military target, avoiding human loss and collateral damage", the statement said.

"So far there are no (civilian) casualties but there is panic among people", said Rahul Yadav, the deputy commissioner of the Poonch district where some of the shelling took place.

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