- All airspace close to border with Pakistan indefinitely shut down
- Pak planes violate Indian airspace; chased by IAF fighters
- Indian pilots battle-ready; can take off in two minutes
New Delhi: India has shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet that violated Indian airspace in Jammu and Kashmir this morning. The F-16 was shot down in Indian retaliatory fire three kilometres within Pakistani territory. A parachute was seen as the F-16 went down, and the pilot’s condition was unknown.
High-level sources in Jammu and Kashmir confirmed that three Pakistan F-16s crossed the Line of Control (LoC) briefly. Pakistani fighter jets were pushed back by the Indian Air Force (IAF) fighters. There was also an attempt made to hit an ammunition dump in the region, but there was no damage. A Sukhoi-30MKi was seen chasing Pakistan’s F-16 on the Line of Control in Nowshera sector
A top official said: “Three jets entered into Indian airspace over Nowshera sector this morning. They were immediately pushed back by Indian jets on air patrol.” But Major General Asif Ghafoor, a spokesperson for Pakistan’s Armed Forces said, “We did not have any F-16 for India to shoot down. We do not want war. We want to take a path that leads to peace.”
JETS DROP BOMBS
Added to the F-16s, a couple of Pakistani jets violated Indian airspace in J&K’s Nowshera, Poonch and Rajouri sectors and dropped bombs on their way out. The violation comes a day after India struck a terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot in an operation described as “non-military” and “pre-emptive”.
Police sources in Rajouri said that Pakistani fighters dropped bombs at Nadian, Laam Jhangar, and Kerri in Rajouri district and Hamirpur area of Bhimber Galli in Poonch, at about 10.00 am. The Indian jets seen in air, are still patrolling the area. Local residents have reported that they witnessed one Pakistani jet go up in flames across the LoC.
All airspace at Jammu, Srinagar and Leh, close to the border with Pakistan, has been shut down indefinitely, sources say. Commercial flights have been put on hold. International flights transiting between Indian, Pakistani airspace have been affected. While some flights returning to origin, others appear to be seeking alternate routing. Flights to Amritsar, Pathankot, Chandigarh, Dehradun and Dharamshala have been suspended until further notice.
The IAF has upgraded the security alert to the highest level. It has put all fighter bases on the highest alert, and pilots are ready to take off in two minutes.
Pakistan is claiming it has shot down two Indian aircraft “inside Pakistani airspace” and that the Indian Air Force crossed the Line of Control in response to Pakistan Air Force strikes. Major General Asif Ghafoor claimed that one of the aircraft fell in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and that the other fell in Jammu and Kashmir. One Indian pilot was taken into custody by troops on the ground”, he said.
To support his claims, Pakistan has released a video in which a blindfolded man says he is Wing Commander Abhinandan and a pilot, says his service number is 27981 and asks if he is with the Pakistan Army. He says he has a right to know. The Indian government has not yet commented on this video or Pakistan’s claim that it arrested two Indian pilots.
PM RUSHES TO REVIEW SECURITY
Prime Minister Narendra Modi cut short his address at a function in Vigyan Bhawan this morning and rushed to attend a meeting to review the security situation arising out of Pakistan’s attempt to violate Indian airspace. Modi was replying to the questions from youngsters during the National Youth Festival 2019 when he was handed over a small piece of paper by an official of Prime Minister Office (PMO).
The Prime Minister immediately stopped and walked toward the panellist where Union Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore was also present. The PM waved at the audience and immediately left the dais and rushed to his office.