NEW DELHI, February 27 -- Pakistan shot down two Indian Air Force planes in its airspace in Kashmir.
A military spokesman said that one Indian pilot had been captured. “PAF shot down two Indian aircrafts inside Pakistani airspace,” tweeted military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor, adding that one aircraft had fallen in Pakistani-held Kashmir, while the other crashed on the Indian side.
“One Indian pilot arrested by troops on ground while two in the area,” he said without elaborating further. News agency ANI reported that India also shot down a Pakistan air force F-16 fighter jet. The fighter jet was shot down in Indian retaliatory fire 3km within Pakistan territory in Lam valley, Nowshera sector.
Islamabad said it had struck across the Line of Control, the de facto border between India and Pakistan, 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. Sole purpose being to demonstrate our right, will and capability for self-defence,” Islamabad said in a statement. CNN-IBN reported that commercial air traffic had been shut down in Chandigarh, Leh and the whole of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, with some flights to Jammu and Srinagar returning to their cities of origin.
India and Pakistan exchanged fire along their contested border in Kashmir on Wednesday (Feb 27), a day after Indian warplanes struck inside Pakistan for the first time since a war in 1971, while leading powers urged the nuclear armed rivals to show restraint. Tensions have been elevated since a suicide car bombing by Pakistan-based militants in Indian-controlled Kashmir killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police on Feb 14, but the risk of conflict rose dramatically on Tuesday when India launched an air strike on what it said was a militant training base. The attack targeted the Jaish-e-Mohammed militant group that claimed credit for the suicide attack. But while India said a large number of JeM fighters had been killed, Pakistani officials said the Indian air strike was a failure and inflicted no casualties.
On Tuesday evening, Pakistan began shelling using heavy calibre weapons in 12 to 15 places along the de facto border in Kashmir, known as the Line of Control (LoC), a spokesman for the Indian defence forces said on Wednesday.