Indian aircraft violate LoC, scramble back after PAF's timely response: ISPR

Updated February 26, 2019

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In their haste to escape, Indian aircraft ended up releasing payload which fell near Balakot, says DG ISPR. — DG ISPR Twitter account
In their haste to escape, Indian aircraft ended up releasing payload which fell near Balakot, says DG ISPR. — DG ISPR Twitter account

Indian military planes violated the Line of Control (LoC), intruding from the Muzaffarabad sector, Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations Major-General Asif Ghafoor said on his official Twitter account early on Tuesday.

  • ISPR says Pakistani forces responded effectively
  • Payload dropped at Balakot
  • No casualties

Maj-Gen Ghafoor in his tweet said "Indian Air Force violated Line of Control", following which "Pakistan Air Force immediately scrambled" and Indian aircraft went back.

He later added that the aircraft faced "timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force" and ended up releasing "payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot". Payload is the carrying capacity of an aircraft, which is usually measured in terms of weight. This could include cargo, passengers, an explosive warhead or any instruments.

No casualties or damage occurred, the military spokesperson said.

In another tweet, he said that "Indian aircrafts’ intrusion across LoC in Muzaffarabad Sector within AJ&K was 3-4 miles".

Technical details and other important information to follow, he added.

PTI, via Twitter, linked the violation to India's upcoming elections, saying: "We realise it’s election year and [there is] a desperation across the border. Fact of the matter is, Indian jets were forced to retreat in haste by Pakistan army patrols and dumped fuel, which in their scramble they thought was a bomb."

Pulwama aftermath

Ties between Pakistan and India have been tense since a suicide bombing in occupied Kashmir killed over 40 Indian soldiers, with New Delhi blaming Pakistan of being complicit in the attack — a charge Islamabad has denied vehemently and from the get-go.

Read more | Dawn Exclusive: A time for restraint

In response to India's allegations, Prime Minister Imran Khan promised New Delhi to conduct an investigation if provided “actionable evidence” but also warned that Pakistan will "retaliate" if attacked. The Pakistan army has also warned India to avoid "any misadventure", saying it could have dangerous consequences.

On the other hand, while Jaish-e-Muhammad had claimed responsibility for the attack, New Delhi immediately blamed Islamabad and also announced that it would launch a diplomatic offensive to isolate Pakistan in the international community.

Furthermore, India has scrapped the Most Favoured Nation status granted to Pakistan and has imposed a 200 per cent customs duty on its goods, barring the exports of tomatoes to Pakistan and denying visas to Pakistani athletes.

More on this: A terrifying fallout

The international community has expressed alarm over the situation and as Delhi is ratcheting up regional tensions, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has also cancelled his scheduled official trip to Japan.