Pakistan ready to handover Indian pilot
Published: 01:08 PM, 1 March 2019 Updated: 02:29 PM, 1 March 2019
Captured Indian pilot in Pakistan, Wing Commander Abhinandan
Pakistan is ready to handover the captured Indian pilot as shelling continued for a third night across the disputed Kashmir border even as the two nuclear-armed neighbors seek to defuse the most serious confrontation in two decades.
Tens of thousands of Indian and Pakistani soldiers face off against each other along the disputed Himalayan border known as the Line of Control (LoC) in one of the world most volatile regions.
Tensions have been running high since Indian aircraft crossed into Pakistan on Tuesday. Pakistan retaliated, shooting down two Indian aircraft and capturing a pilot.
Social media users in India have hailed the pilot as a hero. Others are urging both countries to show restraint, with the hashtag #SayNoToWar.
The recent aerial attacks across the Line of Control (LoC) dividing Indian and Pakistani territory in Kashmir are the first since a war in 1971.
The incident, in which Pakistan said it had shot down two military jets, has escalated tensions between the two nations, both of whom claim all of Kashmir but control only parts of it.
It came a day after India struck what it said was a militant camp in Pakistan in retaliation for a suicide bombing that killed at least 40 Indian troops in Kashmir.
A Pakistan-based group said it carried out the attack - the deadliest to take place during a three-decade insurgency against Indian rule in Kashmir.
Recent status about the pilot
The Indian Air Force pilot, identified as Wing Commander Abhinandan, had been reported “missing in action” by Indian officials.
Images then circulated of his capture, which was both condemned for what appeared to be a physical attack at the hands of residents in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, and praised for the actions of the Pakistani soldiers who intervened to create a barrier.
Pakistan’s information ministry published - but subsequently deleted - a video purporting to show the blindfolded pilot, who could be heard requesting water after he had been captured.
In later footage, Wing Commander Abhinandan could be seen sipping tea from a cup without a blindfold and appeared to have been cleaned up.
He answered a number of questions including his name, military position and that he was from “down south”, before refusing to share any details when asked about his mission: “I’m not supposed to tell you that.”
Pakistan’s military spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said the pilot was being “treated as per norms of military ethics.”
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