New Delhi: India's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday it had asked Pakistan's acting high commissioner that New Delhi expects the immediate and safe return of the military pilot held captive by Pakistan.
"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 foreign ministry said in a statement. "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," it added.
Ghafoor had earlier claimed that two IAF pilots were arrested by the Pakistan armed forces. "One pilot is injured and has been shifted to a hospital, while another one is unhurt", he had said, showing documents of the arrested pilots but identifying only one.
Earlier in the day, during a brief press statement, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar admitted that one IAF pilot was missing in action after a MiG 21 Bison was lost, adding that details are being ascertained about Pakistan's claim of having captured the Indian pilot.
"Pakistan has responded this morning by using its Air Force to target military installations on the Indian side. Due to our high state of readiness and alertness, Pakistan's attempts were foiled successfully," Kumar said. He said the Pakistan Air Force activity 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, we have unfortunately lost one MiG 21. The pilot is missing in action. Pakistan has claimed that he is in their custody. We are ascertaining the facts," he said.
The fresh confrontation came a day after Indian Air Force launched a counter-terrorism action against a training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Pakistan, based on credible evidence that the UN-proscribed terror group intended to launch terror attacks. The JeM had taken the responsibility of the terror strike in Kashmir's Pulwama district on February 14, in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.