The Indian government confirmed reports about an IAF pilot missing in action hours after the Pakistan Air Force targeted Indian military installations in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday morning.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) reacted immediately and a Mig-21 Bison brought down a Pakistani aircraft that was seen falling in enemy territory, an official spokesperson said in the afternoon.
The IAF, however, lost one of its own Mig-21 aircraft in the process and the pilot was missing, said Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.
The confrontation came just a day after Mirage 2000 fighter jets of the IAF had bombed the biggest training camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in Balakot, Pakistan.
IAF Pilot Missing In Action
A senior Pakistani officer claimed that they had downed an Indian aircraft and arrested the pilots. Some Pakistani social media accounts also posted unverified videos of an Indian pilot in Pakistani custody.
The MEA spokesperson, however, maintained that, “The pilot is missing in action. Pakistan has claimed that he is in their custody. We are ascertaining the facts”.
Counter-Terrorism Action Against The JeM
Hours after the IAF bombing in Balakot, India had said that it was a “pre-emptive”and “non-military” action against the JeM camp in Pakistan. The Pakistan-based terror outfit had claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack that left at least 40 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) dead on 12 February.
India’s counter-terrorism action was based on credible evidence that the JeM intended to launch more attacks, the MEA spokesperson pointed out.
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. Pak Air Force was detected and IAF responded instantly.
– Raveesh Kumar, MEA Spokesperson
“In that aerial engagement, one Pak Air Force fighter aircraft was shot down by a Mig-21 Bison of the IAF. The Pakistani aircraft was seen by ground forces falling from the sky on the Pakistan side,” he said during a short briefing in the presence of a senior IAF officer on Tuesday afternoon.