A Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fighter aircraft was shot down by the Indian Air Force (IAF) during an engagement on Wednesday morning, according to officials.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said one MiG 21 ''Bison'' aircraft of the IAF was lost while engaging with the PAF and its pilot ''missing in action''. Pakistan has claimed that he is in their custody.
The fresh confrontation came a day after the IAF launched a counter-terrorism action against a training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Pakistan, based on credible evidence that the U.N.-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.
Here are the statements issued by various countries on the India-Pakistan tensions:
U.K. is deeply concerned: Theresa May
In London, Prime Minister Theresa May said Britain is deeply concerned over rising tensions between India and Pakistan, urging both the nuclear-armed nations to exercise restraint to avoid further escalation.
“The U.K. is deeply concerned about rising tensions between India and Pakistan and urgently calls for restraint on both sides to avoid further escalation. We are in regular contact with both countries, urging dialogue and diplomatic solutions to ensure regional stability,” she said.
In response to an urgent question on “The situation in Jammu & Kashmir” tabled during the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session, Ms. May told the House of Commons that the U.K. remained in regular contact with both countries and was working towards de-escalating tensions.
Rising tension can lead to serious consequences: EU
The European Union (EU) on Wednesday said that rising tension between India and Pakistan has the potential to lead to “dangerous consequences” for the two countries and the wider region and called for utmost restraint.
European Union Commission Vice-President Federica Mogherini said in a statement, “Following the recent terrorist attack in Pulwama, tensions along the ‘Line of Control’ between India and Pakistan have escalated militarily during the last days. This has the potential to lead to serious and dangerous consequences for the two countries and the wider region.”
Ms. Mogherini, who is also the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said the EU expects both countries to “now exercise utmost restraint” and avoid any further escalation.
“To this end, the resumption of diplomatic contacts at political level and implementation of urgent measures by both sides is vital,” she said.
“Terrorism can never be justified. I spoke a few days ago by telephone with the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, to emphasise the need to continue to address terrorism, including clear and targeted actions related to all forms of terrorist activity,” she added.
She emphasised that the EU will remain in contact with both countries and will continue to closely monitor the situation.
Russia urges India, Pakistan to ‘show restraint’
Russia on Wednesday urged India and Pakistan to “show restraint” as it expressed “serious concern” about the escalation of hostilities between the two countries.
"We call on both sides to show restraint and step up efforts to resolve existing problems by political and diplomatic means," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia said in a statement.
It expressed "serious concern" about the aggravation of the situation along the Line of Control (LoC) and the outbreak of tensions between the two neighbours.
"We are ready to further assist in strengthening the counter-terrorism potential of New Delhi and Islamabad," the Ministry added.
Take meaningful action: U.S.
The U.S. on Wednesday firmly asked Pakistan to take “meaningful action” against terrorist groups operating on its soil after India’s counter-terrorism action against it and asked the two neighbours to exercise restraint and avoid escalation at any cost.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a phone call with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also called for avoiding military action.
In a separate call with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Pompeo emphasised the close security partnership between the U.S. and India and shared goal of maintaining peace and security in the region.
France working on proposal to ban Azhar
France is working on a proposal to ban the chief of the UN-proscribed Jaish-e Muhammad (JeM) Masood Azhar and could move it in the Sanctions Committee after it assumes the Presidency of the powerful UN Security Council next month, sources said.
The rotating monthly Presidency of the 15-nation UN Security Council (UNSC) will go from Equatorial Guinea to France on March 1.
France, a permanent member of the Council with veto powers, is working on the proposal (to ban Azhar) and it should be ready soon, informed sources told PTI, adding that the proposal against the JeM chief could perhaps be moved in the Sanctions Committee under the French presidency.
China asks India,Pakistan to exercise restraint
China on Wednesday again called on India and Pakistan to exercise restraint amid the escalation of hostilities between the two countries and urged them to engage in dialogue to uphold the peace and stability in the region.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang’s remarks came after Pakistan targeted military installations in India in response to Indian counter-terrorism in Balakot.
“I understand that in the latest development Pakistan says it had shot down two Indian aircraft and captured Indian pilots,” Lu Kang told the media here.
Sri Lanka is deeply concerned
Sri Lanka said on Wednesday that it was deeply concerned about the increasing tensions between India and Pakistan after the Pulwama attack and asked the two nations to act in a manner that ensures the security, peace and stability of the entire region. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it has unequivocally condemned this terrorist attack in Pulwama and stands firmly in the fight against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.