NEW DELHI: India on Wednesday accused Pakistan of targeting the country’s military installations in response to its counter-terrorism action a day earlier and said an Indian MiG-21 Bison pilot was “missing in action”.
“Against this counter-terrorism action (of bombing the JeM training camp), Pakistan has responded this morning by using its air force to target military installations on the Indian side,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told the media.
“Due to our high state of readiness and alertness, Pakistan’s attempts were foiled successfully,” he added.
He said the Indian Air Force (IAF) responded instantly and in the aerial engagement, one PAF fighter aircraft was shot down by a MIG 21 Bison of the IAF.
“The Pakistani aircraft was seen by the ground forces falling from the sky on the Pakistani side,” he said.
“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.” Kumar said.
Pakistan’s attempt to target military installations came 24 hours after Indian fighter jets pounded major terror training camps in the neighbouring country in what New Delhi called was a “non-military and pre-emptive strike”.
The action came 12 days after a JeM suicide bomber killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force troopers at Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14.
After initially insisting that the Indian action took place in the part of Kashmir that it controls, Pakistani military authorities finally admitted that the IAF had hit Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 195 km from Islamabad and over 40 km from Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistani-administered Kashmir.
Meanwhile, India on Wednesday said that Pakistan has committed “unprovoked act of aggression” by targeting Indian military posts with its air force and sought immediate and safe return of an Indian pilot in its custody.
The External Affairs Ministry summoned Pakistan’s Acting High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah and lodged a strong protest at “the unprovoked act of aggression by Pakistan against India earlier on Wednesday, including by violation of the Indian air space by Pakistan Air Force and targeting of Indian military posts”.
It also gave Pakistan a dossier with specific details of Jaish-e-Mohammed’s complicity in Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed earlier this month.
“India also strongly objected to Pakistan’s vulgar display of an injured personnel of the Indian Air Force in violation of all norms of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Convention. It was made clear that Pakistan would be well advised to ensure that no harm comes to the Indian defence personnel in its custody.
“India also expects his immediate and safe return,” the statement said. (IANS)
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