Pak attempts to target India’s military installations foiled: Indian pilot ‘missing’

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New Delhi, Feb 27: Notwithstanding international cautioning and New Delhi not in favour of escalation of situation post February 26 anti-terror strike by Indian Air Force, Pakistan has tried to attack India’s military installations.
“….Pakistan army 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,” MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar told reporters here on Wednesday.
The Pakistan Air Force was detected and the Indian Air Force responded instantly, he said adding – “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 the engagement, “we have unfortunately lost one MiG 21,” Mr Kumar said. He also said that one pilot is ‘missing in action’. ‘
“…Pakistan has claimed he (pilot) is in their custody. We are ascertaining the facts,” MEA spokesman said.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan claimed it shot down two Indian military aircraft over Pakistani air space and arrested at least one of the pilots.
Pak army Major General Asif Ghafoor said, “…One Indian pilot arrested by troops on ground while two in the area.”
In a statement, Pakistan Foreign Ministry said that the purpose of the strike was “to demonstrate our right, will and capability for self defence”.
The statement also said:”…….We wish that India gives peace a chance” and steps are taken to resolve issues.
India on Tuesday bombed and destroyed JeM’s biggest training camp in Balakot in a first major cross border exercise in last five decades in which “very large number” of terrorists, trainers and senior commanders were eliminated.
India’s actions were a preemptive step to prevent JeM undertaking any other attack.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj assured the international community that India “does not wish to see” further escalation of the situation.
“Excellencies, this was not a military operation, no military installations were targeted. The limited objective of the preemptive strike was to act decisively against terrorist infrastructure of JeM. India doesn’t wish to see further escalation of the situation. India continues to act with responsibility and restraint,” she said.
She said it was only after Pakistan’s ‘continuing refusal’ to acknowledge the role of Jaish-e-Mohammad that the Government of India decided to take preemptive action.
“….the target was selected and the largest terror camp in order to avoid civilian casualties,” she said.
In a major boost to India’s ongoing and persistent diplomatic efforts, China and Russia on Wednesday agreed to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s argument that terrorism challenge today required a global level cooperation.
In what seen as a ‘gain and endorsement of its stance’ in strategic parlance, the Joint Statement issued at the end of RIC Foreign Ministers meeting at Wuzhen in China that “the common development and close cooperation of the three countries – Russia, India and China – is conducive for world peace and stability and promoting global growth”.
“We agreed to jointly combat all forms terrorism through closer policy coordination and it is especially important to eradicate the breeding grounds of terrorism and extremism,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said summing up the discussions.
The mention of the “breeding grounds” of terrorism is largely seen as endorsement of India’s stance  specially in the backdrop of the February 14 Pulwama terrorist attack and the second surgical strike carried out by Indian Air Force on Tuesday. India had carried a surgical strike in 2016 after Uri attack too.

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