WITH PAKISTAN today brazenly violating Indian Airspace in Jammu and Kashmir, India is likely to hit back by late afternoon, in the evening or during early morning hours, it was being speculated among government officials and leaders belonging to ruling BJP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was busy holding an emergency meeting this morning with top government and defence officials, in an apparent bid to finalise India’s response to Pakistan’s violation of Indian airspace, sources said.
In a startling revelation, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said Pakistan tried to target Indian military establishments MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said one pilot was missing and one fighter aircraft MIG 21 is missing. He said India downed one Pakistani fighter aircraft which fell on Pakistan side.
There is only one pilot under Pakistan Army’s custody and he is being treated as per norms of military ethics: Spokesperson Pakistan Armed Forces
“The response will be strong, ferocious and befitting,” said government sources. Prime Minister Modi, who had yesterday lived up to his words after the slaying of CRPF jawans at Pulwama, is likely to direct “strong retaliation” to Pakistan’s blatant violation, sources said. BJP leaders said PM Modi is not someone who will take the Pakistan violation lightly. “He will respond for sure,” said BJP leaders.
FROM THE TIMES OF INDIA
NEW DELHI: Pakistani fighter jets on Wednesday violated Indian air space in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch and Nowshera sectors but were pushed back by Indian aircraft, senior officials said. The Pakistani jets dropped bombs while returning, officials. There was no immediate reports of damage or casualties. (Times of India)
FROM THE INDIAN EXPRESS
An Indian Air Force Mi-17 chopper has crashed near Budgam, Jammu and Kashmir this morning. There has been no official confirmation of what caused the crash. The crash took place in Garend Kalan village of Budgam at around 10.40 am and two people are feared dead. One is reportedly a civilian but there is no official confirmation. Visuals from the area shared on social media showed a crash site in flames. The Srinagar airport has been temporarily shut. (The Indian Express)
FROM THE HINDUSTAN TIMES
Pakistani aircraft violated Indian air space in the Nowshera sector of Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district on Wednesday morning. The Indian Air Force scrambled jets and pushed them back. News agency ANI has reported that a Pakistan Air Force F-16 was shot down in Indian retaliatory fire in Nowshera’s Lam valley.The Pakistani jets had entered into Indian air space over Rajouri district this morning, sources said. (The Hindustan Times)
FROM THE HINDU
Civilian airspace and airports north of Saharanpur shut after Pakistan violates Indian air space in the aftermath of the Balakot air strikes Pakistan fighter jets on Wednesday violate Indian air space in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch and Nowshera sectors, a day after India undertook an early morning air strike in Pakistan’s Balakot. Pakistan also claims to have shot down two IAF aircraft and arrested one Indian pilot.Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has briefed China on the Balakot air strike, reiterating that New Delhi is averse to any escalation of tensions with Islamabad. (The Hindu)
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
Civilian airspace and airports north of Saharanpur shut after Pakistan violates Indian air space in the aftermath of the Balakot air strikes. Pakistan fighter jets on Wednesday violate Indian air space in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch and Nowshera sectors, a day after India undertook an early morning air strike in Pakistan’s Balakot.Pakistan also claims to have shot down two IAF aircraft and arrested one Indian pilot. (Telegraph)
Pakistan says it has shot down two Indian Air Force jets in a major escalation of the Kashmir conflict. A spokesman said one plane had fallen inside Pakistani territory and a pilot had been arrested. There is no comment from India. Indian reports said a Pakistani aircraft had been shot down. Pakistan earlier said it had hit Indian targets, a day after Indian jets struck militants in Pakistan. (BBC)
NEW YORK TIMES
By Maria Abi-Habib, Sameer Yasir and Salman MasoodFeb. 27, 2019
NEW DELHI — Pakistan’s military said Wednesday that it had shot down two Indian aircraft that had entered Pakistani airspace and captured one of the pilots, in an escalation of hostilities just a day after Indian fighter jets crossed the disputed Kashmir region to launch an airstrike within Pakistan.
The claim by Pakistan’s military was not confirmed by the Indian government. Earlier, Indian officials said that one of the country’s fighter jets had crashed within Indian-controlled Kashmir, with the cause being unclear.There are fears that tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors could escalate after Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan promised on Tuesday to retaliate for an incursion by Indian jets hours before. Those airstrikes were the first time since 1971 that the Indian Air Force had crossed the Line of Control, the de facto border between the Indian- and Pakistani-held areas of Kashmir, to strike inside Pakistan.Pakistan’s chief military spokesman, Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, said the country’s air force had shot down two Indian aircraft inside Pakistani airspace on Wednesday morning after they crossed the Line of Control. (New York Times)
FROM THE DAWN (PAKISTAN)
Pakistan Air Force (PAF) on Wednesday — a day after India violated the Line of Control (LoC) — undertook strikes across the LoC from Pakistani airspace.
“Sole purpose of this action was to demonstrate our right, will and capability for self defence. We do not wish to escalate but are fully prepared if forced into that paradigm,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).
Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, the director general (DG) of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), confirmed the action via a tweet, adding that “in response to PAF strikes this morning as released by MoFA, IAF [Indian Air Force] crossed LoC.”
“PAF shot down two Indian aircrafts inside Pakistani airspace. One of the aircraft fell inside AJ&K [Azad Jammu and Kashmir] while other fell inside IoK [Indian occupied Kashmir]. One Indian pilot arrested by troops on ground while two in the area.”
While addressing a press conference an hour after his tweet, Maj Gen Ghafoor said that the two other pilots have also been arrested.
“Today’s action was in self defence; we don’t want to claim any victory. The way we set out target and made sure that there were no collateral damage; the in-built message was that despite out capability, we look towards peace,” said the army spokesperson.
“Today morning, Pakistan Air Force engaged with six targets at the LoC. Because we are a responsible state and want peace, we decided that we will not use any military target.
“As a result of engaging our target, no human life was affected. Staying within our jurisdiction, six targets were locked. And we carried out the strike,” said the army spokesperson.
“Pakistan is not pushing the environment towards war,” he made it clear, adding Pakistan deliberately avoided escalation.
Regarding the upcoming meeting of the National Command Authority and potential use of nuclear weapon, the DG said: “I have always said that we must not talk about this. It is insane to talk about this. It is a capability and a weapon of political choice. Neither is this our level nor is this a topic that should be talked about.”
Avoiding human loss, collateral damage
“Pakistan has taken strikes at non military target, avoiding human loss and collateral damage,” said a statement by the Foreign Office. “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 statement added.
A day earlier, the Pakistan army spokesperson said that the prime minister had asked everyone to get ready for every eventuality. “We are all ready. Now it is time for India to wait for our response,” he asserted.
“The response will come at a point and time of our choosing where our civil military leadership decides, and as a matter of fact, has decided,” he had said, reiterating the statement issued after the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting convened by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
‘New Pakistan'”We are peaceful; we didn’t escalate, India did,” said Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi while speaking to ARY. “We exposed their escalations and their false claims, we offered international observers to come and examine the claims of India.
“India, listen: this is a new Pakistan, [there is] new enthusiasm, new valour,” he cautioned the neighbouring country.
“The nation is united, each and every child is standing by the Army and Kashmiris. Even today, our preference is peace. India should review its designs. A new Pakistan has been established,” Qureshi said.
“The next course of action will be devised after the NCA [National Command Authority] session in which military and political leadership are participating,” he added.
Prime Minister Khan has summoned a special meeting of the NCA today. The NCA is the apex civilian-led command headed by the prime minister to oversee the policy formulation, exercises, deployment, research and development, and operational command and control of the country’s nuclear arsenals.