Pakistan now says it captured one IAF pilot and not two as claimed earlier
27 February 2019
Pakistan has retracted an earlier statement that claimed the capture of two Indian Air Force pilots, and said it had taken only one - Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman - in its custody.
Wing Commander Abhinandan is being treated as per norms of military ethics, military spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor said in a tweet in the evening.
At a press briefing earlier in the day, he said that two pilots were “arrested” after Pakistani fighter planes shot down two Indian Air Force jets after they crossed the Line of Control (LoC).
Ghafoor had claimed that the second pilot, who was injured, was receiving treatment at a hospital. “Two air force jets crossed over the LoC. Pakistan’s Air Force was ready. We engaged them and shot down two of their jets,” he said.
The wreckage of one fell on our side and that of the other fell towards the Indian side, he said. “We have arrested two pilots. We are behaving with them the way responsible countries behave with soldiers of other countries,” Ghafoor had claimed. Pakistan PM Imran Khan had also backed the claim of two Indian pilots being captured.
In a statement, India’s ministry of external affairs has acknowledged that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman has been captured by the Pakistani forces after his MiG-21 was shot down after he engaged Pakistani jets that violated Indian airspace.
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that Pakistani planes targeted military establishments in Jammu and Kashmir, but were forced to retreat by alert Indian forces. In the engagement, a Pakistani aircraft was shot down by an IAF fighter jet, and the MiG-21 piloted by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman "was also lost".
Meanwhile, India lodged a strong protest against Pakistan’s inhuman treatment of an injured IAF pilot in violation of all norms of international law and the Geneva Convention. “It was made clear that Pakistan would be well advised to ensure that no harm comes to the Indian defence personnel in its custody. India also expects his immediate and safe return,” the MEA stated in its protest note issued to the acting high commissioner of Pakistan.
India also lost six Air Force personnel when a helicopter crashed in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir. The crash took place in Garend Kalan village of Budgam at around 10.10 am.
According to a statement released by the IAF an Mi-17 V5 helicopter of the IAF, from the Srinagar Airfield, was on a routine airborne mission. "The helicopter crashed at around 10.10 am near Badgam, J&K. All six air warriors on board the helicopter suffered fatal injuries. A court of inquiry has been ordered into the incident," the IAF statement reads.
According to reports, the aircraft developed technical issues and crashed. Officials say that the aircraft was 50 years old. The Srinagar Airport has been temporarily shut after the crash.
Meanwhile, Pakistani jets violated the Indian airspace as it entered border areas of Nowshera sector in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district on Wednesday, PTI reported.