Pakistan Air Force shoots down two Indian Air Force fighter jets at Kashmir border

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On 27 February, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) shot down two Indian Air Force fighter jets that entered Pakistani airspace, the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced. One of the aircraft was downed above Azad Kashmir, a self-governing jurisdiction administered by Pakistan. The other jet fell in “Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK)”. One Indian pilot got arrested. Indian authorities said that first three Pakistani fighter jets entered the airspace over Indian-administered Kashmir but returned after being intercepted by Indian jets. The situation between the two countries is escalating as just a day ago Indian jets launched an airstrike within Pakistan.

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. 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 Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

The Indian government replied to the allegations and wrote: “on 14 February 2019, a suicide terror attack was conducted by a Pakistani based terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), leading to the martyrdom of 40 brave jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). JeM has been active in Pakistan for the last two decades, and is led by Masood Azhar with its headquarters in Bahawalpur.

This organization, which is proscribed by the UN, has been responsible of a series of terrorist attacks including on the Indian Parliament in December 2001 and the Pathankot airbase in January 2016.

India has been repeatedly urging Pakistan to take action against the JeM to prevent jihadis from being trained and armed inside Pakistan. Pakistan has taken no concrete actions to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism on its soil.

Credible intelligence was received that JeM was attempting another suicide terror attack in various parts of the country, and the fidayeen jihadis were being trained for this purpose. In the face of imminent danger, a preemptive strike became absolutely necessary.

In an intelligence led operation in the early hours of today, India struck the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot. In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were eliminated. This facility at Balakot was headed by MAULANA YOUSUF AZHAR (alias USTAD GHOURI), the brother-in-law of MASOOD AZHAR, Chief of JeM.”

India had informed about Counter Terrorism (CT) action it took yesterday against a training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Pakistan based on credible evidence that JeM intended to launch more attacks. Against this Counter Terrorism Action, Pakistan has responded this morning by using its Air Force to target military installations on the Indian side. Due to our high state of readiness and alertness, Pakistan’s attempts were foiled successfully.

The Pakistan Air Force was detected and the Indian Air Force responded instantly. In that aerial engagement, one Pakistan Air Force fighter aircraft was shot down by a MiG 21 Bison of the Indian Air Force. The Pakistani aircraft was seen by ground forces falling from the sky on the Pakistan side. In this engagement, we have unfortunately lost one MiG 21. The pilot is missing in action. Pakistan has claimed that he is in their custody. We are ascertaining the facts.

Commercial air traffic in Pakistan and India heavily affected after recent escalation in the region

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