In a joint press conference by the MEA officials and Vice Air Marshal RK Kappo, the government has confirmed that one Indian pilot is missing and that they are trying to ascertain more details.
In the press conference, the government said:
“India has informed about Counterterrorism action it took yesterday against Jaish-e-Mohammad camp in Pakistan based on credible evidence that they intended to launch further attacks on India. Pakistan responded by using its airforce to target military installations on the Indian side. Due to our alertness, Pakistan attempts were foiled successfully. Pakistan Air Force was detected and Indian Air Force responded instantly. In the aerial engagement, one Pakistan jet was shot down by Indian MIG 21 Bison of IAF. The Pakistani aircraft was seen by ground forces falling on Pakistan side. In this engagement, we lost 1 Mig 21, the pilot is missing. Pakistan has claimed that he is in their custody. We are ascertaining facts.”
On 14th February 2019, Pakistan sponsored Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists had carried out a suicide terrorist attack on a CRPF convoy, claiming the lives of 44 soldiers. Following the attack, the Indian Air Force had conducted airstrikes deep inside Pakistan territory and India’s nuclear-capable Mirage-2000 jets had gone right up to Balakot in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to destroy JeM terror camps.
Following the airstrikes, Pakistan indulged in spreading lies and fear. On the wee hours of Wednesday morning, Pakistan also resorted to heavy firing across the Line of Control, to which it got a befitting response from the Indian side, which destroyed 5 Army posts on the Pakistan side. Pakistan then proceeded to violate India’s airspace. Sources say that 1 Pakistan F16 was shot down by India. However, unfortunately, India lost one MiG 21 and the whereabouts of one Indian pilot remains unknown.
It now remains to be seen whether the military retaliation would escalate more or die down into a diplomatic tussle.