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Saturday, Nov 16, 2019

IAF pilot who engaged Pakistan jets is missing in action, MiG 21 lost: Govt

Pakistan’s military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor also released a video of a man, blindfolded, who identifies himself as a wing commander rank officer.

india Updated: Feb 27, 2019 19:38 IST
Sudhi Ranjan Sen
Sudhi Ranjan Sen
Pakistan claims 2 IAF jets shot down, pilots held; also releases video
Pakistan claims 2 IAF jets shot down, pilots held; also releases video (AP)
         

An Indian Air Force pilot who engaged Pakistani jets that violated Indian airspace this morning is missing in action, the government has said. A foreign ministry spokesperson said India is verifying Pakistani claims that the pilot is in its custody.

Pakistan had earlier said its air force shot down two Indian fighter jets on Wednesday morning and claims to have captured two Indian Air Force pilots. One of them is in hospital, Pakistan’s military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said.

The Pakistan Army also released a video that shows a blindfolded man, identifying himself as a Wing Commander-rank IAF officer and his service number. Then, he asks, “Am I with the Pakistani Army”.

Also read: ‘Strikes across LoC from within Pak airspace’, claims Pakistan

The Wing Commander -rank officer was part of the IAF’s Combat Air Patrol (CAP) that engaged the on-coming Pakistani fighters that violated Indian airspace this morning, a day after India carried out a counter-terror strike at Jaish-e-Mohammed camp in Pakistan.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said Pakistan has responded to the counter-terror strike this morning by using its Air Force to target military installations on the Indian side.

“The Pakistan Air Force was detected and the Indian Air Force responded instantly,” he said.

 WATCH | Pakistan claims it has shot down 2 IAF jets and arrested pilots

The IAF shot down one Pakistani fighter in this aerial engagement and was seen falling from the sky on the Pakistani side.

The IAF, however, also lost a MiG 21 fighter.

Also Read: Only seven people knew of the timing of air strike on Jaish camp in Balakot

“The pilot is missing in action. Pakistan has claimed that he is in their custody. We are ascertaining the facts,” he said.

Pakistan Major General Asif Ghafoor’s tweet claiming to shoot down 2 Indian fighter jets came hours after the Pakistan foreign ministry claimed to have carried out strikes at a location in Jammu and Kashmir from within Pakistani airspace.

Ghafoor also said Indian Air Force planes “strayed into Pakistani airspace” after Pakistan carried out airstrikes.

The foreign ministry said Pakistan Air Force jets had targeted military installations but the attempt was foiled.

Also read: ‘Strikes across LoC from within Pak airspace’, claims Pakistan

“The Pakistan air assault came through Kalal area in Rajouri District. The tried to target a forward ammunition depot, an army installation,” a senior official in the security establishment who did not want to be named said and added that “the Indian Air Force engaged the oncoming fighters.”

The air space violation by Pakistani jets comes a day after Indian Air Force jets flew across the Line of Control to blow up Jaish-e-Mohammed’s biggest terror camp.

Tensions have been elevated since a suicide car bombing by Pakistan-based terrorists killed at least 40 CRPF jawans on February 14. On Tuesday, the Indian Air Force bombed terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad’s biggest training base in Pakistan