India asked Pak to follow Geneva Convention, not to harm pilot

     
Feb 27, 2019
NEW DELHI: In retaliation to Tuesday's air strikes by the IAF on Jaish-e Mohammed's terror camp in Balakot, Pakistan on Wednesday morning targeted Indian military installations. In the conflict that followed, an F-16 jet of the Pakistan Air Force was shot down by the IAF and India lost a MiG fighter jet. The MiG pilot was captured by Pakistan, the Foreign Ministry said. There were damages on both sides.

The Indian Government has asked for the "immediate and safe return" of the Indian Air Force pilot captured by Pakistan.

"Our action was only intended to convey that if you can come into our country, we can do the same... Two of their MiGs were shot down (in the ensuing action). From here, it is imperative that we use our heads and act with wisdom," Imran Khan said in a televised statement.

"I ask India: With the weapons you have and the weapons we have, can we really afford a miscalculation? If this escalates, it will no longer be in my control or in Modi's." Mr Khan said in a hit at the nuclear capabilities of both nations. "We invite you for dialogue... better sense must prevail," he added.

On Tuesday evening, Major General Asif Gafoor, spokesperson of the Pakistan Army, had said, "We will surprise you, wait for that surprise... response will come differently". He was reacting to the IAF strikes on terror camps in Balakot earlier in the day.

After Wednesday's incursion, the Pakistan envoy was summoned and a strong protest was lodged over what it called an "unprovoked act of aggression by Pakistan" by targeting Indian military installations.

India charged Pakistan with violating the Geneva Convention by circulating a "vulgar" video of the captured pilot blindfolded and arms tied up behind being interrogated.

Pakistan has said that it carried out strikes across the LoC but from within its own airspace and that it was not escalation or retaliation, but it was a demonstration of its readiness and capabilities.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had detailed discussions with the three military chiefs and security and Intelligence officials.

Security has been tightened across cities like Mumbai. Nine airports including Srinagar, Jammu and Leh have been shut for security.

Pakistan also has closed its airspace for commercial flights and indefinitely suspended flight operations at many of its major airports.

Due to the closure of Pakistani airspace, Air Canada has temporarily suspended services to India. Emirates airline and Gulf Air have cancelled flights to Pakistan.

A joint statement issued by the Opposition parties alleged, "The meeting of 21 parties expressed their deep anguish over the blatant politicization of the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces by leaders of the ruling party. National security must transcend narrow political considerations."

Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj told a foreign ministers' meeting of Russia, India and China (RIC) in Wuzhen in China that India will "continue to act with responsibility and restraint".

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has asked India and Pakistan to exercise restraint. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to foreign ministers of India and Pakistan and urged them to avoid "further military activity."

European Union Commission Vice President Federica Mogherini said in a statement, "Following the recent terrorist attack in Pulwama, tensions along the ''Line of Control'' between India and Pakistan have escalated militarily during the last days. This has the potential to lead to serious and dangerous consequences for the two countries and the wider region."

Sri Lanka has said it unequivocally condemned the terrorist attack in Pulwama and "stands firmly by the fight against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations."

A statement by Russia said, "We express our serious concern about the aggravation of the situation along the Line of Control between India and Pakistan and the outbreak of tensions between friendly states. We call on both sides to show restraint and step up efforts to resolve existing problems by political and diplomatic means."

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