India scrambles its fighters as Pakistani jets cross over LoC

Several PAF aircraft target Indian Army positions

Published - February 27, 2019 10:39 pm IST - NEW DELHI

People show the damage in the Mankote sector of Poonch.

People show the damage in the Mankote sector of Poonch.

A day after the Indian precision air strike on a terrorist training camp in Balakot, Indian and Pakistani Air Force jets on Wednesday engaged in a chase over the Line of Control. One Indian MiG-21 Bison aircraft was lost and a Pakistani F-16 was shot. Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was arrested by Pakistan and is in their custody.

On Tuesday morning, several PAF aircraft targeted Indian Army positions to which IAF fighters were scrambled in response. “There was a lock on a Pakistani F-16 by a MiG-21 which fired an R-73 missile and hit the target,” a defence source said on condition of anonymity.

Wg. Cdr. Varthaman managed to eject but landed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Initially, Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, Pakistan Air Force spokesperson, said they shot down two IAF aircraft and captured two pilots. Later, he changed the statement, tweeting, “There is only one pilot under Pakistan Army’s custody. Wg. Cdr. Abhinandan is being treated as per norms of military ethics.”

Wg. Cdr. Abhinandan, based in Srinagar, hails from Chennai. His father is a retired Air Marshal who was the Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command.

Earlier in the day, the PAF dropped bombs at four places in Jammu and Kashmir close to Army installations. The general area of their brief ingress was in the Naushara and Lam sectors in Kashmir, according to defence sources.

“Today, PAF undertook strikes across the LoC from within Pakistani airspace,” the Pakistani Foreign Ministry statement said.

Around 10.30 a.m., some PAF jets came into the Krishna Ghati sector of Kashmir and went off from the Lam valley in the Nowshera sector, the source stated. Among the areas targeted are Narina where the Army has an ammunition point.

The PAF F-16 which was shot fell in the Khuretta sector in PoK, opposite the Lam valley, the source added.

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