The official spokesperson for Pakistani Armed forces confirmed that the Pakistani Air Force crossed over into Indian territory today morning, were pursued by Indian jets across the border, and that two of these were shot down.
At least one Indian pilot has been arrested, he said.
“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,” a tweet by Major General Asif Ghafoor said.
The move by Pakistan came in response to a bombing raid by Indian fighter jets yesterday, targeting Jaish-e-Mohammad training facilities in Pakistan.
That move was a response to a suicide bomb by JeM that killed 44 Indian soldiers last week.
UPDATE: Indian news agency ANI, quoting defence sources, said the plane that fell in Pakistan’s Lam valley was an F-16 fighter belonging to the Pakistani Air Force.
“Pakistan Air Force’s F-16 that violated Indian air space shot down in Indian retaliatory fire 3KM within Pakistan territory in Lam valley, Nowshera sector,” it said in a flash update.
“Parachute seen as Pakistan Air Force’s F-16 was going down, condition of the pilot is unknown,” it added.
UPDATE 2: It has been confirmed that an Indian fighter jet was brought down in Pakistan, and the pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman is currently under Pakistani military custody. Indian authorities have officially claimed that a Pakistani aircraft was also brought down, but that it fell inside Pakistani territory.
It has also been confirmed by the Pakistani armed forces that they did not cross over into India, but carried out missile attacks on non-military targets in India from jets positioned over their territory.
It is not clear whether the footage of the remains of a jet shown on Pakistani TV was that of an Indian jet or that of a Pakistani jet.
One jet also fell in Budgam inside the Indian border. “Some aircraft has fallen,” a J&K politicial official told media “As of now we aren’t in a position to ascertain anything. A technical team is here and they’ll ascertain facts. We have found two bodies so far. They have been evacuated them,” he said.
The latest move has put the ball back in India’s court.
The ruling party in India faces a tough election in two months, and cannot be seen as backing down in the face of an attack on its troops.
Currently, the Indian defence establishment has gone into a huddle with various meetings involving the National Security Advisor, Defence Minister and the Prime Minister.