Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday conveyed his angst over the missing IAF pilot claimed by Pakistan to be in its custody. "I'm sorry to hear that one of our brave IAF pilots is missing. I hope he will return home soon, unharmed. We stand by our armed forces in these difficult times," tweeted Gandhi.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has confirmed that it lost MiG 21 jet with its pilot missing in action after an engagement with a Pakistani Air Force fighter jet. It however did not confirm that the pilot is in Pakistani army's custody as is claimed by the neighboring country.
🇮🇳 I'm sorry to hear that one of our brave IAF pilots is missing. I hope he will return home soon, unharmed. We stand by our armed forces in these difficult times. 🇮🇳- Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) February 27, 2019
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar in his statement said, "India had informed about Counter Terrorism (CT) action it took yesterday 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 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.
He further said, "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, 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."
Pakistan military's official spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor earlier in the day had held a press conference claiming that PAF had carried out strikes in J&K.
He stated that Pakistani jets shot down two IAF jets, one of which crashed in Pakistan-controlled territory and the two pilots of the aircraft were taken in custody.
Pakistan has also released an unverified video of the IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan claiming of capturing him after downing his jet.