Pakistan shoots down two Indian aircraft
- Author: Sonia Alvarado Feb 28, 2019,
Feb 28, 2019, 0:16
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Wednesday said a MiG 21 was shot down and its pilot is missing.
The dramatic escalation has ignited fears of an all-out conflict between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
One of the aircraft fell into Indian-controlled territory while the other crashed onto the Pakistani side, where the pilot was captured.
Kashmiri villagers and Indian army soldiers gather near the wreckage of an Indian aircraft after it crashed in Budgam area, outskirts of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Wednesday, February 27, 2019.
India says its neighbor had a "direct hand" in the attack and accuses it of providing sanctuary to the militants.
"It is up to India now to go the way we have gone".
"If we let it happen, it will remain neither in my nor Narendra Modi's control", he warned, naming India's prime minister.
Islamabad's announcement of the shootdown coincides with India's claim that its fighter jets had intercepted three Pakistani fighter jets that flew into the airspace over its territory in Kashmir and turned them away.
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Two Pakistan Air Force jets entered into Indian airspace on Wednesday, in a surprise assault, and targetted two Indian warplanes, the military's spokesman has confirmed. But since India controls two-thirds of the state, which is what it managed to hold after Pakistan launched an invasion shortly after the British departure, that it refuses to concede ground, and Pakistan holds on to the one-third that it does, there have been multiple wars trying to resolve this issue, and a series of negotiations, but they have all ultimately run aground.
Indian jets conducted an air strike on "terror camps" according to a minister.
Update, 9:35 Eastern: India expressed outrage over Pakistan's treatment of the captured pilot, calling it a "vulgar display of injured personnel".
In Tuesday's pre-dawn strike by India, Pakistan said Indian warplanes dropped bombs near the Pakistani town of Balakot but there were no casualties. "That is why we undertook the action with clear warning and in broad daylight", it added.
A map of the Kashmir region.
India, earlier on Wednesday, shut several airports in the northern part of the country temporarily, leading to dozens of domestic flight cancellations after Pakistani warplanes crossed a disputed border into the Indian side of Kashmir.
Airlines flying over India and Pakistan to Europe, the Middle East and Asia were disrupted and some flights were routed through Mumbai on India's western coast, so they could head further south and avoid Pakistan air space, an Indian government official told Reuters.
"We have an evacuation plan in place and if the need arises we will evacuate people to safer areas", he said.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) tweeted that it "has officially closed its airspace until further notice", while a Pakistani military spokesman said the decision had been taken "due to the environment".
Speaking to Sputnik, Najam U Din, former director of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and a human rights activist, shared his views on the escalation of tensions between the two nuclear powers. Pakistan denied there had been casualties but warned that it will respond to what it called Indian "aggression".