India had informed about Counter-Terrorism (CT) action it took on February 26 against a training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Pakistan based on credible evidence that JeM intended to launch more attacks. Against this Counter Terrorism action, Pakistan has responded on Wednesday morning by using its Air Force to target military installations on the Indian side. Due to a high state of readiness and alertness, Pakistan’s attempts were foiled successfully as confirmed by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). The Pakistan Air Force was detected and the Indian Air Force responded instantly. 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, India, unfortunately, lost one MiG 21 and the pilot is missing in action as stated by MEA in a media address on Wednesday afternoon; although the MEA statement skipped mentioning the name of the missing pilot, his whereabouts, and other information on the same.
Indo-Pak People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy Activist Jatin Desai spoke to Afternoon Voice and stated, “I am against war. The government should look after that how tension can de-escalate soon. We expect maturity from both the governments — India and Pakistan. Both the neighboring countries are nuclear weapon states and war makes the common people suffer the most along with destroying the economy. Secretary-General of the United Nations must intervene to see how tensions can be reduced with peace dialogue. If we can talk after war why can’t we talk before the war?”
In the meanwhile, the government of Pakistan said that its air force has shot down two Indian Aircraft inside Pakistan airspace on Wednesday after the Indian Air Force crossed the Line of Control (LoC) — the de facto border between the two countries in disputed Kashmir. However, later Pakistani military spokesman confirmed that the Pakistan Army has only one Indian pilot in custody. The alleged incident comes a day after the Indian Air Force launched airstrikes in Pakistan territory in the first such incursion since the 1970s; it is also observed that this may mark a major escalation of hostilities between the two nuclear-armed nations.
Swaraj India National President Yogendra Yadav stated, “After Pulwama attack, the Indian army gave a befitting reply to Pakistan. Both Pak and Indian leaders should sit and talk peacefully as the soldiers are getting killed every day. The ongoing media trial can lead to a lot of problems in the border areas. This should stop immediately; both Pakistan and India must avoid war.”
As per videos shared by the Pakistan media and the Pakistan twitter handles, the captured IAF pilot is Abhinandan, an Indian Air Force fighter pilot who was flying a MiG 21 Bison jet. However, Pakistan has not formally informed India about the detention of the pilot which it claims to have in its custody. Hence, whether India will take up the case of IAF pilot through diplomatic channels is yet to be answered. Later in the day, Ministry of External Affairs summoned Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah.
The February 26 IAF airstrikes against terror camps in Pakistan were celebrated across the nation; however, it is also observed that the strike by Indian Air Force was very non-violent as neither the government nor the IAF officials clarified the numbers of the terrorists being killed during the strike. The reality of ‘Surgical Strike 2.0’ and the bold statements from the Prime Minister looks ironical in front of the prevailing situation.
Former IPS SM Mushrif expressed, “Let us first understand how terror attack escalated in India in recent times after Narendra Modi came to power and went to Pakistan to wish Nawaz Sharif on his birthday on December 2015. The biggest mistake of PM Modi was that they did not inform the IB and that upset them. IB is influenced by Brahminism and it wants to know every move of the Modi government beforehand especially regarding Pakistan.
The upset IB was behind the Pathankot attack in January 2016. The IB was also behind the URI attack in September 2016. These attacks led the Modi government to surgical strike. IB feeds the people on Pakistan border with crores of rupees. If IB is so powerful, how terrorism is so active in our country?”
Looking at the situation between these two countries, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in an official statement said, “If a war talks place, it will not be in my or Narendra Modi’s control. 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. So, I want to ask India, with the weapons you and we have, can we afford miscalculation.”
On the other hand, MEA on Twitter called Pakistan’s aggressive act against India unfortunate rather than fulfilling its international obligation and bilateral commitment to take credible action against terrorist entities and individuals operating from its soil. MEA further stated, “This is in contrast to India’s non-military anti-terror pre-emptive strike at a JeM terrorist camp in Balakot on 26 Feb 2019.” In another tweet, it stated, “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.” “India also strongly objected to Pakistan’s vulgar display of injured personnel of the Indian Air Force in violation of all norms of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Convention,” the following MEA tweet read.
The warmongering, glorification of the violence, arguments for the necessity of violence for political ends, and bringing the whole nation into political scenarios seem to be dangerous for the nation and the lives of our Jawans. Why are warmongers on both the sides playing with the lives of the innocents?
Reports also suggest that the two aircraft of the India Air Force crashed in Budgam, Jammu, and Kashmir, where two bodies were found at the crash site. The SSP of Budgam said, “Some aircraft have fallen. As of now, we are not in a position to ascertain anything. The technical team is here who will ascertain facts. We have found two bodies so far and have evacuated them and the search is going on.”
Amid Indo-Pak tensions, metro cities and airports have been put on high alert and many commercial flights were put on hold. Although the order to shut down nine airports over the northern states of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have been withdrawn later and flight operations have already resumed there.
Muslim Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti State Secretary Mohsin Khan commented, “After Pulwama attack, the Muslims in our country have done aggressive protests voluntarily without any fear. We want the Indian Army to cross the border and attack. It is to be seen what the Modi government decides at this moment. The Indian government should pressurise the Pakistan government to release Wing Commander Abhinandan or else Indian should fight with Pakistan to release him.”