India confirms IAF pilot is in Pakistan's custody

Thursday, 28 Feb, 2019

The aerial attacks across the LoC are the first since a war between the two countries in 1971.

"Let's sit together to talk to find a solution", Khan said.

It stepped up dramatically this week when Indian jets bombed what Delhi said was a terrorist training camp on the Pakistani side.

Alarm bells have rung in global capitals as the grave situation has escalated in the Indian subcontinent after Pakistan's attempted strike on Indian military installations.

Meanwhile, Indian police say officials have recovered four bodies from the wreckage of an Indian Air Force chopper that crashed in Indian-controlled sector of Kashmir.

On Wednesday morning, India's external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj, emphasised that Pakistan's military was not the target of the sorties.

Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, a spokesman for Pakistan's Armed Forces, tweeted Wednesday that "PAF shot down two Indian aircrafts inside Pakistani airspace" and had arrested one pilot. Pakistan's military released footage showing the pilot in good health-presumably to ward off criticisms that had followed of the mistreatment of Indian pilots during the 1999 Kargil War.

The pilot and co-pilot have reportedly been killed.

One of the aircraft fell on India's side of Kashmir, while the second came down in Pakistani-held territory with two pilots captured, he added.

"We wanted to demonstrate that we could have easily taken out the original target - a military administrative unit - but chose not to", he said in response to a question. "They [international community] must also come forward and see how the environment between Pakistan and India is a threat to peace and development, not just between the two countries but in the region and beyond", he said and urged the media to promote Pakistan's message of peace. Eyewitnesses said soldiers fired in air to keep residents away from the crash site.

The Foreign Ministry said the sortie was "a demonstration of Pakistan's right to defend itself".

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

Several other airlines, including Emirates and Qatar Airways, suspended flights to Pakistan on Wednesday after the South Asian nation closed its air space following heightened tensions with neighboring India.

"The officers of the Pakistani Army have looked after me well, they are thorough gentlemen", he said.

In the wake of the Indian air raids, Pakistan also activated the LoC with heavy shelling, a strategy used before by the two countries during heightened tensions. The shells hit the village of Kotli in Pakistan's section of Kashmir.

"The Indian Army retaliated for effect and our focused fire resulted in severe destruction to five posts and number of casualties", the spokesman said.

The Pakistani civil and military officials have rejected the claim.

He added that the action Pakistan has taken is in "self defence".

Tuesday's 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.