In the early hours of Wednesday, two Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft were shot down by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in response to unprovoked aggression a day earlier.
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DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor in a tweet said: "In response to PAF strikes this morning as released by MoFA, IAF crossed LOC. PAF shot down two Indian aircrafts inside Pakistani airspace. One of the aircraft fell inside AJ&K while other fell inside IOK." While the DG had initially said in a presser that two pilots were in custody, he later clarified that only one Indian pilot, Wing Commander Abhi Nandan, is held captive.
Tensions have been high between the two nuclear-armed rivals since a suicide bomber, a native of Indian-occupied Kashmir, crashed a car packed with 300kg of explosives into a convoy of Indian Central Reserve Police Forces (CRPF), killing more than 40 paramilitary personnel, and injuring at least 70 on February 14 in Pulwama.
The PAF engaged with six selected Indian targets from within its airspace in Bhimbar Gali, KG Top, and the Indian supply Depot in Naryan.
"It was unanimously decided by the Armed Forces that no military installations or civilian areas would be targeted, and the strikes would be conducted in a responsible manner to avoid collateral damage and further escalation in the region," Maj Gen Ghafoor said.
The military spokesperson said that Pakistan has the capability and the will to engage in a conflict that is not of its own making but chooses to not enter into conflict at the cost of regional peace.
He went on to say, that this was not 'retaliation' in its true sense, but "we want to avoid a full-blown war".
There were additional reports going around that a Pakistani F-16 plane had also been shot down. The military spokesperson quelled any rumours and informed that PAF did not use any F-16s in its latest engagement.
Two Indian aircraft entered Pakistani air space, engaged with PAF, and as a result, were shot down. The wreckage of one of the planes landed in Azad Jammu Kashmir, and the wreckage of the other plane landed in the Indian-occupied Kasmir.
There are also intelligence reports of another Indian plane being shot down, but the wreckage is reportedly deep in Indian territory. There was no engagement with the third IAF plane.
One IAF pilot was captured by the armed forces on the ground. The pilot, who was critically injured, was sent to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) and is being treated.
According to the ISPR, documents were recovered from the captured pilot.
According to the military spokesperson, "The state of Pakistan, the Government of Pakistan, the Armed Forces of Pakistan and the people of Pakistan have always conveyed a message of peace to India, and the route to peace goes through the way of 'dialogue'. Both countries have nuclear capabilities, but war is actually the failure of policy, which India needs to understand."