India, Pakistan down each other’s jets as Kashmir conflict heats up

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“Historical past tells us that wars are stuffed with miscalculation. My query is that, given the weapons now we have, can we afford miscalculation,” Khan mentioned throughout a short televised broadcast to the nation. “We should always sit down and speak.”

India’s assault on Tuesday focused the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), the group that claimed credit score for the suicide assault. India mentioned a lot of JeM fighters had been killed, however Pakistani officers mentioned the strike was a failure and inflicted no casualties.

Political stress

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from British colonial rule in 1947, two over the disputed Himalayan area of Kashmir, and went to the brink a fourth in 2002 after a Pakistani militant assault on India’s parliament.

The most recent escalation marks a sudden turnaround in relations between the 2 international locations, that each declare Kashmir in full however rule partially. As lately as November, Pakistan’s Khan spoke of “mending ties” with India.

The battle additionally comes at a essential time for Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi, who faces a basic election in a matter of months.

Modi’s determination to order air strikes may gain advantage him politically, in line with analysts and pollsters, however he was accused on Wednesday by opposition events of capitalising on battle.

Pakistani soldiers patrol in the area where Indian planes were reportedly shot down by Pakistani forces.

Pakistani troopers patrol within the space the place Indian planes had been reportedly shot down by Pakistani forces.Credit score:AP

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi criticised the “blatant politicisation of the sacrifices made by our armed forces”, in a joint assertion by 21 opposition events, the primary time they’ve damaged ranks with the federal government over the difficulty.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke individually with the international ministers of India and Pakistan and urged them to keep away from “additional navy exercise” following Tuesday’s air strike.

“I expressed to each ministers that we encourage India and Pakistan to train restraint, and keep away from escalation at any value,” Pompeo mentioned in a press release on Wednesday.

“I additionally inspired each ministers to prioritize direct communication and keep away from additional navy exercise,” he mentioned.

Each China and the European Union have additionally known as for restraint.

Aerial battle

Lots of the info within the newest sequence of engagements are disputed by the 2 sides.

Main Basic Asif Ghafoor, spokesman for the Pakistan armed forces, mentioned two Indian jets had been shot down after they entered Pakistani airspace whereas responding to a Pakistani aerial mission on targets in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

One of many jets crashed on the Indian-controlled aspect of the de facto border in Kashmir, often called the Line of Management, and the opposite on the Pakistani aspect and two Indian pilots had been captured, he mentioned.

Ghafoor mentioned the Pakistani plane had carried out the strikes in response to India’s air strike the day earlier than however had taken deliberate motion to make sure no casualties had been brought on.

The Pakistani jets had locked on to 6 targets, in an illustration of their capability to hit strategic installations, however intentionally fired into open areas the place there could be no casualties.

“This was not a retaliation in true sense, however to inform Pakistan has functionality, we will do it, however we need to be accountable, we do not need an escalation, we do not desire a conflict,” Ghafoor informed a information convention.

One of many plane fell on India’s aspect of Kashmir, whereas the second got here down in Pakistani-held territory with two pilots captured, he added.

Raveesh Kumar, a spokesman for India’s international ministry, gave a distinct account, telling a information briefing that the Pakistan air strikes on navy targets had been “foiled”.

India shot down one Pakistani airplane that landed in Pakistani territory, and that it had misplaced certainly one of its personal planes, not two, with the pilot “lacking in motion”, Kumar added.

“Pakistan has claimed that he’s of their custody. We’re ascertaining the info,” Kumar mentioned.

Pakistan denies it misplaced a airplane within the encounter.

On the Pakistani briefing, Ghafoor produced images of weapons and id paperwork he mentioned had been carried by Indian pilots.

The Pakistan authorities’s official Twitter account launched a video of what it claimed was one of many Indian pilots who had been shot down.

The person, whose face is bloodied and blindfolded, provides his identify and repair quantity, earlier than telling a person questioning him: “I am sorry sir, that is all I am imagined to inform you.”

The Indian air power has ordered Kashmir’s most important airport in Srinagar together with a minimum of three others in neighbouring states to shut, an official mentioned.

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Pakistan shut its airspace, with business flights within the nation cancelled. Flights from the Center East and India had been additionally affected.

For Australian travellers, the journey recommendation stage on Smartraveller.gov.au has not modified, though an replace on the web site states that “following a terrorist assault in Kashmir on 14 February and India’s navy response on 26 February, there may be elevated stress within the area”.

In a separate incident, police officers in Indian-occupied Kashmir mentioned that 4 passengers and a civilian had died after an Indian plane crashed in Kashmir. The craft was initially reported by officers to be a airplane, however a partial tail quantity from the craft seen by a Reuters witness confirmed it to be an Mi17 navy helicopter.

The reason for the crash was unknown.

Civilian fright

The aerial engagement adopted in a single day artillery fireplace by each side. Pakistan used heavy calibre weapons in 12 to 15 locations alongside the Line of Management, a spokesman for the Indian defence forces mentioned on Wednesday.

“The Indian Military retaliated for impact and our targeted fireplace resulted in extreme destruction to 5 posts and variety of casualties,” the spokesman mentioned.

5 Indian troopers suffered minor wounds within the shelling that ended on Wednesday morning, he added.

“To this point there are not any (civilian) casualties however there may be panic amongst individuals,” mentioned Rahul Yadav, the deputy commissioner of the Poonch district on the Indian aspect the place a number of the shelling happened.

“Now we have an evacuation plan in place and if want arises we are going to evacuate individuals to safer areas,” he mentioned.

Pakistani troops visit the site of an Indian air strike in Jaba, near Balakot, Pakistan, on Tuesday. Pakistan said there were no casualties.

Pakistani troops go to the location of an Indian air strike in Jaba, close to Balakot, Pakistan, on Tuesday. Pakistan mentioned there have been no casualties.Credit score:AP

Officers on the Pakistani aspect mentioned a minimum of 4 individuals had been killed and 7 wounded, together with civilians, with hundreds evacuated and colleges closed in border areas.

“Solely these households are nonetheless right here which have concrete bunkers constructed inside or alongside their properties,” mentioned Muhammad Din, a resident of Chakothi, a village in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir close to the de facto border.

India has additionally continued its crackdown on suspected militants working in Kashmir, and on Wednesday safety forces killed two Jaish militants in a gun battle, Indian police mentioned.

Syed Maqsood, the superintendent of a authorities hospital in Indian-occupied Kashmir, mentioned that every one hospitals within the area had been requested to color a pink cross on their roofs.

The most recent exchanges hit inventory markets in each international locations.

Pakistani shares fell sharply throughout morning commerce with the benchmark KSE 100 Index index down three.34 per cent and the narrower KMI 30 index down three.6 per cent in Karachi.

The Indian inventory market was down round zero.5 per cent, however the nervousness was evident in Mumbai. There was a visual improve in safety ranges in India’s monetary capital, which has suffered quite a few militant assaults prior to now.

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