MEA says Indian pilot 'missing in action' after aerial engagement with Pakistan aircraft over J&K's Rajouri

  • Reports have identified the missing pilot as IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan

  • Pakistan responded this morning by using its air force to target military installations on this side, the MEA said

  • Due to our high state of readiness and alertness, Pakistan's attempts were foiled successfully, Raveesh Kumar added

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Wednesday said India is "missing a pilot in action" following an aerial engagement with aircraft of the Pakistan Air Force that violated Indian airspace over Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri district. He added that India was ascertaining Pakistan's claim that it has captured this pilot, who reports say has been identified as Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan.

Kumar said a MiG-21 Bison of the Indian Air Force (IAF) shot down a Pakistani jet detected over Rajouri, after which ground forces saw the aircraft falling into the Pakistani side of the border.

"Due to our high state of readiness and alertness, Pakistan's attempts were foiled successfully. Pakistani jets were detected and the IAF responded instantly," the MEA spokesperson said at the press briefing, at which he was accompanied by Air Vice-Marshal RGK Kapoor.

 MEA says Indian pilot missing in action after aerial engagement with Pakistan aircraft over J&Ks Rajouri

File image of MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar. Twitter/@MEAIndia

His statement comes in the wake of escalating tensions between India and Pakistan after the IAF carried out air strikes on terror training camps of the Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Pakistan acknowledged the IAF operation in Balakot, but denied that it resulted in any casualties.

"Based on credible evidence that the Jaish-e-Mohammed intended to launched more terrorist attacks in India, India carried out the air strikes," Kumar said. "But Pakistan responded this morning by using its air force to target military installations on this side."

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Here's the full text of the statement by the Ministry of External Affairs:

India had informed about Counter Terrorism (CT) action it took yesterday against a training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Pakistan based on credible evidence that JeM intended to launch more attacks. Against this Counter Terrorism Action, Pakistan has responded this morning by using its Air Force to target military installations on the Indian side. Due to our high state of readiness and alertness, Pakistan’s attempts were foiled successfully.

The Pakistan Air Force was detected and the Indian Air Force responded instantly. In that aerial engagement, one Pakistan Air Force fighter aircraft was shot down by a MiG 21 Bison of the Indian Air Force. The Pakistani aircraft was seen by ground forces falling from the sky on the Pakistan side. 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.

The full text has been reproduced from website of Ministry of External Affairs and has not been edited by Firstpost for style and clarity.

 

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Updated Date: Feb 27, 2019 15:52:18 IST