Indian Air Force and Pakistani fighter jets engaged in an aerial battle for the first time since the 1971 war.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with the chiefs of the three armed forces at his residence in New Delhi today after an Indian Air Force fighter jet went down during an aerial encounter over the Line of Control this morning and the pilot was captured by Pakistan.
The government has said it expected the “immediate and safe return” of the pilot in Pakistan’s custody. In a demarche, India also lodged a strong protest at what it called an “unprovoked act of aggression by Pakistan”, saying its jets targeted military installations in India.
In the worst escalation of hostilities between the countries in decades, a day after India’s air strike to target a terror camp in Balakot, fighter jets of both sides engaged in direct battle. Pakistan later put out a video of the Indian Air Force pilot whose MiG-21 jet had crashed after shooting down a Pakistani aircraft.
“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,” said New Delhi in its demarche.
Today’s meeting between the Prime Minister and the three service chiefs and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, that lasted some one hour and 20 minutes, was the second one in 24 hours.
They had met yesterday after Indian Air Force fighter jets destroyed a terror camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pakistan’s Balakot, around 80 km from the Line of Control, in a pre-dawn strike on Tuesday.
New Delhi said it was a “non-military and pre-emptive” strike based on credible inputs that Jaish was training suicide bombers for more attacks like Pulwama. Over 40 soldiers were killed on February 14 when a Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber attacked a security convoy.