MEA admits one pilot missing after Pakistan releases alleged video of IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan
BusinessToday.In February 27, 2019
Ministry of External Affairs has confirmed that one pilot of Indian Air Force has gone missing in action after an engagement with a Pakistan Air Force fighter jet. In a briefing, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar confirmed that the said PAF jet has been brought down. This comes after Pakistan claimed they had captured two IAF pilots and released a video showing one of the alleged pilots.
"Pakistan has responded with using its air force to target military installations on the Indian side. In that aerial engagement, one Pakistan Air Force fighter aircraft was shot down by a MiG21 Bison of the Indian Air Force. The Pakistani aircraft was seen by the ground forces falling on the Pakistan side. In this engagement, we have unfortunately lost one MiG21. The pilot is missing in action. We are ascertaining the facts," the MEA spokesperson said.
Reports claim that the lost MiG21 was lured by PAF F-16s into an ambush and was brought down by air defence systems. Following this, Pakistan claimed that it captured the two IAF pilots in the downed aircraft. A video has surfaced, which Pakistan media is claiming that it is one of the two Indian pilots Pakistan army claimed to have apprehended today. The authenticity of this 49-second long footage could not be ascertained independently.
Another IAF pilot Pakistan claims to have captured is said to be getting medical assistance, reports claim.
This development came after Pakistan army spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor said in a press conference that two Indian aircraft had been shot down today morning. While one fell on the Indian side, debris from the other plane landed in Pakistan's territory, he said. The pilots were retrieved from the latter aircraft, Ghafoor said.
Aerial confrontation has been going on between the two nations since early morning today after India launched an aerial attack to destroy terror training camps in three locations in Pakistan yesterday. India has shot down a F-16 fighter jet of Pakistan Air Force which violated airspace in Lam valley. Pakistan has claimed to conduct air raids against India but denied using any F-16s.
So far, Pakistan has defended its violation of Indian airspace saying that this is in self-defence and shows its commitment to protect itself against advances from India.
"We decided that we will not attack any military targets. We decided that no human life should be endangered in the strikes. We did not want to give the impression that we are an irresponsible nation. The intention was to tell we can retaliate, but we won't go to war at the cost of the region's peace," Ghafoor said.