Pakistan shot down two Indian Air Force planes in its airspace in Kashmir on Wednesday, February 27, a military spokesperson said, adding that one Indian pilot had been captured.
“PAF shot down two Indian aircrafts inside Pakistani airspace,” tweeted military spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor, adding that one aircraft had fallen in Pakistani-held Kashmir, while the other crashed on the Indian side.
“One Indian pilot arrested by troops on ground while two in the area,” he said without elaborating.
In response to PAF strikes this morning as released by MoFA, IAF crossed LOC. PAF shot down two Indian aircrafts inside Pakistani airspace. One of the aircraft fell inside AJ&K while other fell inside IOK. One Indian pilot arrested by troops on ground while two in the area.
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) February 27, 2019
His statement came as Indian sources said that Pakistani F-16 fighter jets had violated airspace over Indian Kashmir, but were forced back over the de facto border of the disputed territory.
Ghafoor later said that only one pilot was captured and was “being treated as per norms of military ethics,” tweeting a photo of the pilot that appeared to show injuries to his face.
Videos circulating on social media purporting to show the IAF pilot in custody could not immediately be verified.
A top government official in Indian-administered Kashmir told AFP the Pakistani jets briefly crossed the frontier but were pushed back by the Indian Air Force.
Raveesh Kumar, India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, said the Indian Air Force had shot down a Pakistani fighter jet, losing one of its own MiG-21 Bison aircraft in the process. The pilot is still missing and India is still ascertaining whether he is in Pakistani custody, Kumar said.
“The Pakistani aircraft was seen by ground forces falling from the sky on the Pakistan side,” Kumar added.
The Press Trust of India reported that Pakistani fighter planes crossed at Poonch and Nowshera, two locations on the Indian side of the de facto border, but were repelled.
PTI said the Pakistani jets dropped bombs while returning but that there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.
The Pakistani foreign office also released a statement saying that the air force “undertook strikes” across the border, known as the Line of Control, Wednesday – however it did not elaborate on what it meant by “strikes” and did not mention shooting down planes.
It said the strikes hit open space after locking on to military targets, adding: “We have no intention of escalation.”
Indian sources confirmed Pakistani fighter jets had violated airspace over Indian Kashmir, but said they were forced back over the LoC, and there was no immediate response to the claim the planes had been shot down.
Srinagar, Jammu and Leh airports were closed Wednesday for civilian air traffic following the incident, PTI reported.
The incursion over the heavily militarized Line of Control comes a day after Indian warplanes carried out a strike in Pakistan on what New Delhi said was a militant training camp, in retaliation for a February 14 suicide bombing in Kashmir that killed 40 Indian troops.
Tensions have dramatically escalated between the nuclear-armed rivals since Indian warplanes flew into Pakistani airspace and struck what New Delhi said was a camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed, the group that claimed the Kashmir bombing.
Islamabad, while denying the Indian strike caused any major damage or casualties, had vowed to retaliate – fueling fears of a dangerous confrontation in South Asia.
This story was updated throughout the day on February 27 with new information.
With reporting from AFP