Pakistan says it has shot down two Indian aircraft

Islamabad - By Qamar Zaman and Sunrita Sen, – The Pakistani army on Wednesday said it had shot down two Indian aircraft inside Pakistan’s airspace, in a move likely to further escalate tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
The incident took place a day after India carried out air strikes in Pakistan on a camp belonging to a terrorist group India blames for blames for a deadly suicide car bomb attack in India-administered Kashmir.

Indian Air Force planes on Wednesday crossed over the line of control (LoC) dividing Indian-administered Kashmir from the Pakistan-controlled area, Pakistani army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said.
“One of the aircraft fell inside AJ&K [Pakistan-administered Kashmir] while other fell inside IOK [Indian occupied Kashmir]. One Indian pilot arrested by troops on ground while two in the area,” Ghafoor said in a tweet.
At a press conference later he also denied reports that a Pakistani F-16 warplane had been shot down in Lam valley in Indian Kashmir.
Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said that the Pakistan Air Force “undertook strikes across the LoC from Pakistani airspace. Sole purpose of this action was 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. That is why we undertook the action with clear warning and in broad daylight,” the spokesman said.
The Indian Air Force confirmed an aircraft crashed in the Badgam area of Kashmir but did not mention the cause of the accident. Local police said two bodies had been recovered.
India also suspended commercial flights operation from four airports in Kashmir and another border town after the incident, according to officials.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was later Wednesday scheduled to lead a meeting of the National Command Authority (NCA) - the principal decision-making body on nuclear issues.
The disputed Kashmir region is divided in two, with one part administered by India and the other by Pakistan. The South Asian neighbours have fought three wars, two of them over Kashmir.
India's strikes on the terrorist camp in Pakistan came 12 days after a suicide car bomb attack in India-administered Kashmir killed 40 Indian paramilitary policemen.
India blamed a Pakistan-based militant group for the attack and claimed Tuesday's strike was a counter-terrorist action aimed at a base of that group, the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
India-administered Kashmir has seen a deadly secessionist movement since the 1980s. India accuses Pakistan of aiding and abetting Kashmiri militants, a charge Pakistan denies.
Tensions were running high in Kashmir on Wednesday and at least four people were killed overnight as Indian and Pakistani forces exchanged fire at multiple points across the highly militarized border.
“Four people including two women were killed by the shelling of Indian forces in Kotli district,” local police official Abdul Wahid Khan said. Khan said 11 people were injured during the “intense” firing from the Indian side.


Wednesday, February 27th 2019
By Qamar Zaman and Sunrita Sen,

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