Pakistan Air Force has claimed it shot down two Indian aircraft inside inside Pakistani airspace and arrested an Indian pilot in what has been described as a major escalation of the Kashmir conflict.
Pakistan Military spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor said Indian Air Force (IAF) crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and two of their aircraft were shot down by PAF inside Pakistani airspace.
“One of the aircraft fell inside AJK while other fell inside IoK. One Indian pilot arrested by troops on ground while two in the area,” Director Gneral of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor said.
Director General of the Inter Services Public Relations Pakistan is due to hold an important press conference later today to discuss the issue.
The Foreign Office in a statement stated, “Pakistan Air Force (PAF) conducted strikes across Line of Control (LoC) from within Pakistani airspace.”
“This was not a retaliation to continued Indian belligerence. Pakistan has therefore, taken strikes at non-military target, avoiding human loss and collateral damage,” the FO statement read.
“Sole purpose being to demonstrate our right, will and capability for self defence. We have no intention of escalation, but are fully prepared to do so if forced into that paradigm,” it added. “That is why we undertook the action with clear warning and in broad daylight.”
The FO further said, “For the last few years, India has been trying to establish what they call “a new normal” a thinly veiled term for doing acts of aggression at whatever pretext they wish on a given day. If India is striking at so called terrorist backers without a shred of evidence, we also retain reciprocal rights to retaliate against elements that enjoy Indian patronage while carrying out acts of terror in Pakistan. We do not wish to go to that route and wish that India gives peace a chance and to resolve issues like a mature democratic nation.”
The retaliatory act b Pakistan comes just 24 hours after it warned India of a “surprise” after Indian military aircraft’s intruded into Pakistan.
Major General Ghafoor on Tuesday warned India that it was time to “wait for our surprise”. “I said three things: You will never be able to surprise us. We have not been surprised. We were ready, we responded, we denied. I said we will retain the escalation ladder. We have that initiative in our hand,” he said.
“I said that we will surprise you. Wait for that surprise. I said that our response will be different. See it for yourself. The response will come, and response will come differently,” the DG ISPR warned the Indian army.
India quickly denied Pakistani claims of shooting down Indian jets and said “all our pilots are accounted for” although images of the downed planes circulated on social media.
The major escalation between the two nuclear powered countries comes a day after Indian military aircraft violated the LoC as they “intruded” from the Muzaffarabad sector and were forced to return owing to the timely response of the Pakistan Air Force.
Footage posted on Social media showing the downed aircraft.
— Ghulam Abbas Shah (@ghulamabbasshah) February 27, 2019