Pakistan shoots down 2 Indian aircraft after they crossed Kashmir border

Saul Bowman
March 1, 2019

India's Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale told reporters in New Delhi that Indian fighter jets targeted Jaish-e-Mohammad camps in a pre-emptive strike after intelligence indicated another attack was being planned.

Air Canada said it has temporarily suspended service to India because of Pakistan's airspace closure.

India and Pakistan are on the brink of a major confrontation after the latter claimed to have shot down two Indian fighter jets in response to the bombing of alleged "terror" targets inside Pakistan.

Indian airlines including IndiGo, India's biggest airline by market share, low-priced rival GoAir and full-service carriers Jet Airways and Vistara, a joint venture between Singapore Airlines and Tata Sons, were forced to cancel services to at least six cities in northern India due to airport closures.

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.

The Pakistani Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that the recent airstrikes on the Indian jets were conducted in attempt to show readiness for self defense.

Officials on the Pakistani side said at least four people had been killed and seven wounded, including civilians, with thousands evacuated and schools closed in border areas.

Kashmiri villagers gather near the wreckage of an Indian aircraft after it crashed in the Budgam area on the outskirts of Srinagar.

"PAF shot down two Indian aircrafts inside Pakistani airspace", tweeted Major General Asif Ghafoor. He had said earlier that two pilots were captured, but did not explain the discrepancy.

"One of the aircraft fell inside AJK while other fell inside IoK".

India has been on high alert since Tuesday's strikes, an operation Islamabad promised to repay with its own "surprise" attack.

It was just plain ground that India put its payload on before exiting Pakistani airspace.

Both India and the USA see Pakistan as providing safe haven for terrorist groups and point to the fact that the leadership of groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba, which carried out the Mumbai attacks in 2008, still live freely in Pakistan. But accounts diverge from there. "But Pakistan responded this morning by using its air force to target military installations on this side".

Both countries mounted media blitzes to push their particular narrative but had appeared to leave room to de-escalate the conflict. "To avoid further military action, this is a unsafe cycle of escalation", Senator Payne said. "India will continue to act with responsibility and restraint".

Pakistan media released a video Wednesday purportedly showing a captured Indian fighter pilot being interrogated after his jet was shot down in Pakistani-controlled airspace.

The National Command Authority controls policy formulation, exercises, deployment, research and development, employment and operational command and control of the country's nuclear arsenals.

Both armies accused the other of shelling villages and opposition army posts across the line of control that separates Indian and Pakistani controlled Kashmir.

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