Pakistan 'shoots down two Indian jets' over Kashmir

Also, any cross-border attacks were always within Pakistan-administered Kashmir, a disputed territory, and not in Pakistan proper, as was the case with the September 2016 "surgical strike" in response to the Uri army camp attack in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The diplomatic back-and-forth came after India's Air Force said its jets bombed targets inside Pakistan, which scrambled its own jets in response, for the first time in almost 50 years. He appeared in good health as he was questioned about his hometown, his aircraft and his mission.

Tensions have been high between Islamabad and New Delhi since a February 14 suicide attack that killed at least 41 Indian troops in Muslim-majority Kashmir, which is claimed by both countries.

Indian news reports say that airports in the Indian portion of Kashmir have been closed for civilian traffic shortly after an Indian air force jet crashed in the area.

Currently, there are hardly any backchannel contacts between the Indian and Pakistani governments, which makes it even more hard for them to negotiate an immediate cessation of hostilities.

Pakistan's military says it has two Indian pilots now in custody, captured after the Pakistani air force shot down their aircraft on its side of the disputed region of Kashmir.

Pakistan's military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor tweeted a photo of the pilot in custody and wrote that he's "being treated as per norms of military ethics". Two of the pilots have been killed in the incident.

Addressing a press conference, a spokesperson for the Indian MEA said, "We unfortunately lost one MiG-21 in this engagement and an Indian pilot is missing in action". After we engaged the targets, two IAF aircraft entered Pakistani airspace.

"We hope that both India and Pakistan can exercise restraint, take initiatives that are conducive to promoting dialogue, meet halfway and make active efforts for lasting peace and stability in South Asia", Lu said. They gave no cause for the crash.

Another police officer, SP Pani, said firefighters were at the site in the Budgam area where the warplane crashed.

India and Pakistan are in the throes of the most serious military standoff between them since 2002.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi said afterward that the attacks paid homage to "India's courageous hearts" - an apparent reference to 40 Indian soldiers killed in a February 14 suicide bombing in India-controlled Kashmir.

Both countries claim the entire mountainous Himalayan region of Kashmir but rule in part.

Pakistan shot down two Indian fighter jets on Wednesday, a day after Indian warplanes struck inside Pakistan for the first time since a war in 1971, prompting leading powers to urge the nuclear armed rivals to show restraint. New Delhi also announced the withdrawal of the Most Favoured Nation status for Pakistan and hiked the customs duty by 200 per cent on goods originating from Pakistan.

The reaction came after Indian aircrafts intruded into Pakistan airspace and released payload in haste near Balakot.

Earlier, in a statement, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said that Pakistan Air Force undertook strikes across Line of Control from within Pakistani airspace.

Lt. Col. Devender Anand, an Indian army spokesman, said Pakistani soldiers targeted dozens of Indian military positions across the Line of Control throughout the night. An Indian military statement said that "out of anger and frustration", Pakistan initiated an "unprovoked cease-fire violation".

"The Indian Army retaliated for effect and our focused fire resulted in severe destruction to five posts and number of casualties", the spokesman said. It accused Pakistani soldiers of firing mortars and missiles "from civilian houses, using villagers as human shields". On Wednesday New Zealand's foreign minister Winston Peters also voiced concern over the escalation in tensions.

  • Tracy Klein