One IAF pilot missing in action: India
New Delhi/Islamabad: India on Wednesday accused Pakistan of targeting Indian military installations in response to its counter-terrorism action a day earlier and said an Indian MiG-21 Bison pilot was “missing in action”.
“Against this counter terrorism action (of bombing the JeM training camp), Pakistan has responded this morning by using its air force to target military installations on the Indian side,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar told the media.
He said the Indian Air Force (IAF) responded instantly and one Pakistan Air Force (PAF) aircraft was shot down by a MiG-21 Bison.
“The Pakistani aircraft was seen by the ground forces falling from the sky on the Pakistan side,” he said.
“In this engagement, we have unfortunately lost one MiG-21. The pilot is missing in action. Pakistan has claimed that he is in their custody. We are ascertaining the facts.”
Pakistan, meanwhile, claimed that it has captured two Indian pilots, one of whom was identified as Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. The identity of the other is not known.
Sources said Abhinandan is in the ranks of the Indian Air Force. He is son of a retired Air Marshal. A Su-30 pilot, Abhinandan was commissioned in 2004.
A video of the captured pilot was shown on Pakistani news channels. Its veracity is yet to be established.
The other pilot is said to be in hospital.
An earlier tweet by the Inter-Services Public Relations, the media wing of the Pakistan Armed Forces, said: “In response to PAF strikes this morning as released by MoFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), IAF crossed LoC. PAF (Pakistan Air Force) shot down two Indian aircraft inside Pakistani airspace. One of the aircraft fell inside AJ&K (Pakistan administered Kashmir)… One Indian pilot arrested by troops on ground.”
Jammu and Kashmir police sources had said earlier three PAF F-16 fighter jets violated the Indian airspace in Nowshera sector but were pushed back by the Indian side.