Pakistan warns of nuclear war ‘miscalculation’ as its fighter jets clash with India over Kashmir

Wednesday - 27/02/2019 09:55
Pakistani reporters and troops visit the site of an Indian air strike in Jaba, near Balakot, Pakistan. Picture: APSource:AP
Pakistani reporters and troops visit the site of an Indian air strike in Jaba, near Balakot, Pakistan. Picture: APSource:AP
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has offered to initiate talks with India, warning ongoing escalation over Kashmir could spiral out of control into nuclear war.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has offered to initiate talks with India, warning ongoing escalation over Kashmir could spiral out of control into nuclear war. 

Mr Khan said in an address televised by Pakistan media that an air raid earlier today by his own air force had been a carefully measured retaliation — without collateral damage — for yesterday’s attack by India.

But he warned against any further escalation.

“If a war talks place, it will not be in my or Narendra Modi’s control,” he warned ominously, referring to the two nation's nuclear arsenals. “If you want any kind of talks on terrorism, we are ready. Better sense must prevail. We should sit down and talk”.

“All wars in world history have been miscalculated, those who started the wars did not know where it will end,” Prime Minister Khan said. “So, I want to ask India, with the weapons you and we have, can we afford miscalculation?”

 

DOGFIGHT ABOVE KASHMIR

The two nuclear powers of India and Pakistan claim to have shot down each others’ aircraft over disputed Kashmir, with Pakistan releasing vision of a captured pilot.

The clash came as Pakistan’s air force conducted a retaliatory raid in Kashmir following yesterday’s strike by India.

“It was our plan to not cause any collateral damage, and not to cause any casualties,” Prime Minister Khan said. “We simply wanted to show capability. Two Indian Migs crossed Pakistan’s Borders, and we shot them down.”

Indian government authorities have since confirmed one of its fighter aircraft, a Mig-21, had been shot down and its pilot was ‘missing in action’. A spokesman has told Indian media the loss came as the Indian Air Force ‘successfully pushed back’ Pakistani F-16 fighter aircraft conducting the raid on Indian-controlled Kashmir.

INDIAN LOSS CONFIRMED

Photographs and footage presented to support the shoot-down claims in Pakistani media were initially mostly falsely attributed, being from prior Indian military accidents.

However, Pakistan’s defence ministry has since released images confirmed as showing a captured Indian pilot. The injured pilot identified himself as Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. Photographs of documents demonstrate he was the pilot of an Indian Mig-21.
“The Pakistan Air Force was detected and the Indian Air Force responded instantly,” and Indian Air Force statement reads. “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.”

Indian Air Force Air Vice Marshal R.G.K. Kapoor attends a press briefing. Kumar said one of its Mig-21 fighter aircraft was missing and that India was still "ascertaining" whether its pilot was in Pakistan's custody. Picture: AP
Indian Air Force Air Vice Marshal R.G.K. Kapoor attends a press briefing. Kumar said one of its Mig-21 fighter aircraft was missing and that India was still "ascertaining" whether its pilot was in Pakistan's custody. Picture: APSource:AP

Indian media reports suggest the Pakistani F-16s lured Indian Mig-21s into the range of ground-based air defences after bombing targets within Indian-controlled Kashmir.

While Pakistan claims it has a second Indian pilot in its custody, no supporting evidence has yet been released. India has not confirmed or denied the loss of a second pilot.

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 Key: India, Kashmir

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