Pakistan shoots down Indian jets, carries out airstrikes in Kashmir

Clay Curtis
February 28, 2019

He added that he hoped "better sense" would prevail to de-escalate tensions with its nuclear-armed neighbour.

"I ask India: With the weapons you have and the weapons we have, can we really afford such a miscalculation?"

The South Asian nations are engaged in the most serious military confrontation in decades, after India said on Tuesday it killed hundreds of militants in a camp inside Pakistan.

India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj says the limited objective of Tuesday's pre-emptive strike inside Pakistan was to act decisively against the terrorist Jaish-e-Mohammad group to prevent another attack in India. In another recent example, from September 2016, India claimed that "surgical strikes" destroyed militant facilities over "the line of control" that separates India-held and Pakistan-held areas of Kashmir from each other.

Conflict with India could spiral into nuclear war, Pakistan's prime minister has warned, after Islamabad claimed that it shot down two Indian jets, captured two pilots and bombed targets in Kashmir this morning.

In a separate account, prominent Indian defense analyst Ajai Shukla said in a tweet that two Indian air force jets were shot down by ground fire after they were lured toward the air defenses by Pakistani planes returning home from a bombing run.

Pakistan says Indian warplanes dropped bombs near the town of Balakot but that there were no casualties.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, now in Vietnam with President Donald Trump for North Korean nuclear talks, said in a statement on Tuesday he spoke to both his Indian and Pakistani counterparts and urged both sides to "prioritize direct communication and avoid further military activity".

"While India blames Pakistan for providing cover for jihadi groups, it went to great lengths to demonstrate that its response was aimed at JeM targets that were not official Pakistani government military or civilian positions", Vaishnav said, referring to Jaish-e-Mohammed.

Highest Number of Civilians Killed in Afghanistan in 2018
The statement said that the Afghan forces have always paid thorough attention in preventing civilian casualties. This is a huge number of ISIS killings given how comparatively small the group is.

"In the aerial engagement, a Pakistan fighter aircraft was shot down by a MiG-21 Bison". The pilot is missing in action. Pakistan has claimed that he is in their custody. "We are ascertaining the facts".

"One Indian pilot arrested by troops on ground while two in the area", he said without elaborating further.

Earlier, Nepal had also issued a statement, asking both India and Pakistan to refrain from any activity that threatened the peace of the region.

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".

Meanwhile, civil administrator Baseer Khan confirmed that the airport in Srinagar, the main city in Indian-controlled Kashmir, was closed and said it was a "temporary and precautionary measure".

"IAF [Indian Air Force] crossed LOC [Line of Control], PAF [Pakistan Air Force] shot down two Indian aircraft inside Pakistani airspace". The craft was initially reported by officials to be a plane, but a partial tail number from the craft seen by a Reuters witness showed it to be an Mi17 military helicopter.

The cause of the crash is still unknown.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said she was very concerned by the reports of the escalation in the conflict, with both countries launching air strikes in the past two days. "To avoid further military action, this is a risky cycle of escalation", Senator Payne said.

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