Pakistan has shot down two Indian fighter jets and captured one of its pilots in an escalation of the tensions between the two nuclear countries. A long-simmering dispute over the Kashmir region has boiled over in recent weeks following a terrorist attack against Indian soldiers.
Pakistan is alleging that the aircraft were inside of its airspace when their military engaged. The ownership of Kashmir airspace is disputed, with the typical differentiation being an accepted Line of Control. It is uncertain where the actual fighting occurred in relation to the LoC.
Pakistani officials released video of the burning jet and also video of the captured pilot. The pilot video has since been deleted from Twitter. India claims to have shot down one Pakistani jet during the conflict.
This comes the day after India invaded Pakistani airspace to deliver airstrikes in an area of northwest Pakistan. The airstrikes were targeting what the Indian government described as a facility for the same terrorist group which launched the attack on their soldiers.
Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said a “large number” of militants were killed, defending the raids as a “pre-emptive strike” to stop further JeM attacks.
The Pakistani army denied there were any casualties. It said its jets forced Indian planes to withdraw and drop their “payload” in an sparsely inhabited area.BBC
Pakistan has shut down its airspace to commercial flights in the wake of the Indian airstrikes.
The U.S., via Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, issued a request to Pakistan to de-escalate and recognized the targeted site for the Indian strikes as a terrorist facility, as reported by Financial Times. The request seems to have been ineffective, as the shooting down of the Indian jets occurred mere hours afterward.