New Delhi: Tension between India and Pakistan continued to escalate a day after the former’s pre-emptive air strike at JeM’s terror camp in Balakot. On Wednesday, hours after Islamabad made a failed attempt to target military installations in India, the Ministry of External Affairs said that India had lost one MiG 21 in the engagement and an IAF pilot was “missing in action”.
Later, Pakistan, from claiming that it had caught two Indian pilots, went on to confirm that “there is only one pilot in custody”, adding that “wing Commander Abhinandan is being treated as per norms of military ethics”. Also Read- India Says Missing Pilot Must be Treated Humanely, in Accordance With Geneva Conventions
India insisted that Pakistan had committed an “unprovoked act of aggression” by targeting Indian military posts with its air force and sought immediate and safe return of its pilot.
India issued a demarche to Pakistan, objecting to the “vulgar display” of the injured IAF pilot in violation of all norms and said Islamabad must ensure that no harm was done to the defence personnel in its custody.
It also gave Pakistan a dossier with specific details of Jaish-e-Mohammed’s complicity in the February 14 Pulwama terror attack which killed 40 CRPF personnel.
The MEA said targeting of Indian military posts was in contrast to India’s non-military anti-terror pre-emptive strike at a JeM terrorist camp at Balakot in Pakistan early on Tuesday. Also Read- China Endorses India’s Position on Terrorism, Says ‘Those Supporting Terrorist Acts Must be Held Accountable’
“It is unfortunate that instead of fulfilling its international obligation and bilateral commitment to take credible action against terrorist entities and individuals operating from its soil, Pakistan has acted with aggression against India,” the statement said.
India Summons Pakistan’s High Commissioner
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) also summoned Pakistan’s acting High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah and lodged a strong protest at “the unprovoked act of aggression by Pakistan against India earlier today, including violation of the Indian air space by Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and targeting of Indian military posts.”
On Wednesday, Pakistan again violated ceasefire in Krishna Ghati and Mendhar sector of Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch, said ANI. No casualty was reported. This was the second ceasefire violation by Islamabad after IAF combat jets dismantled Jaish-e-Mohammed’s (JeM) biggest camp in Pakistan’s Balakot in a pre-dawn strike on February 26.
A red alert has been sounded for the entire Delhi Metro network by the DMRC, in view of heightened tension. “As advised by security agencies, a red alert has been imposed on the entire DMRC network from 6 pm onwards,” a senior DMRC official said. The Delhi Metro’s current operational span is 327 km with 236 stations, in Delhi and neighbouring cities.
Punjab has put its six border districts _ Ferozepur, Tarn Taran, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Pathankot, Fazilka _ on high alert. As part of the state’s preparedness to deal with any contingency, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh chaired a high-level law and order review meeting and ordered a spate of measures.
After Pakistan closed its air space, Canada’s largest carrier Air Canada temporarily suspended service to India.
Meanwhile, the Samjhauta Express, that runs between Delhi and Attari, will run as per schedule. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal clarified the same amid reports that Pakistan had halted the service of the train.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), after initially issuing a notice to airmen that led to the suspension of flight operations at some airports, went on to withdraw it. While flight operations at the airports in Srinagar, Jammu, Leh, Pathankot, Amritsar, Shimla, Kangra, Kullu Manali and Pithoragarh will still remain shut up to May 27, those at nine airports have resumed. A DGCA spokesperson said, “As of now, ops to these airports resumed (sic).”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday called a meeting with top security and intelligence officials and was briefed about the latest security situation in Jammu and Kashmir and along the Line of Control (LoC).
Arun Jaitley on the Joint Statement by the Opposition
Hours after 21 Opposition parties said in a joint statement that the government was politicising the sacrifices of Indian armed forces, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “My appeal to India’s opposition – ‘Let the country speak in one voice’. Please introspect – Your ill-advised statement is being used by Pakistan to bolster its case.”
Jaitley further said in a tweet, “The whole nation has spoken in one voice. Why then is India’s opposition alleging that the Government is politicising our Anti-Terror Operations.
The Cross Border terror attack in Pulwama was a reality. The Balakot Operation was India’s Anti- Terror preemptive strike to defend its Sovereignty.”
In a major development, China endorsed India’s position on terrorism. In a veiled reference to Pakistan, China added that “those committing, orchestrating, inciting or supporting terrorist acts must be held accountable and brought to justice.”
Britain PM Theresa May said, “The UK is deeply concerned about rising tensions between India and Pakistan and urgently calls for restraint on both sides to avoid further escalation. We’re in regular contact with both countries, urging dialogue and diplomatic solutions to ensure regional stability. We are working closely with international partners including through the UN Security Council to de-escalate tensions and are monitoring developments closely and considering implications for British nationals.”
Expressing concern over the escalating tension between India and Pakistan, Nepal said that as the current Chair of SAARC it underlines the importance of peace and stability in South Asia and calls on both sides not to engage in actions that would threaten security in the region.
Russia has called on India and Pakistan for restraint in connection with the border incident. Russia is concerned about the aggravation of relations, ANI reported.