Commercial flights to and from Pakistan, India disrupted as tensions rise


In an official statement issued by the External Affairs Ministry on Wednesday, India confirmed that Pakistan used its Air Force to target military installations in the morning in response to the Indian counter-terrorism operations but said their attempts were foiled successfully.

Officials from Pakistani Armed Forces have released some video and images showing, as they claim, an Indian pilot from fighter jet downed on its side of Kashmir.

India said its air strike early on February 26 killed "a very large number" of militants. The Press Trust of India news agency says these airports are located at Srinagar, Jammu and Leh.

Reportedly, the airspace over Jammu and Kashmir, Amritsar, and Chandigarh was also suspended.

The incidents are the latest in a unsafe sequence of events between the two countries, whose ties have been under intense strain since a February 14 suicide bombing in Indian Kashmir that killed 40 troops. The flare up in the cross-LoC shelling, which was initiated by Pakistani troops in early hours of Wednesday, has resulted in security forces and other establishments being put on a heightened alert.

In a sign of how quickly the situation could spiral, Pakistan's military spokesman alluded to its nuclear arsenal Tuesday, saying that Khan had also convened a meeting Wednesday of the National Command Authority, the body which oversees its nuclear weapons. By Wednesday evening, the ministry acknowledged the pilot was in Pakistan's custody and demanded "his immediate and safe return".

As the tensions surged, four people including two children were killed and 10 others injured in an exchange of fire between troops from both sides in Kashmir, Pakistani officials said Tuesday.

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The attack targeted the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), the group that claimed credit for the suicide attack.

Lodhi held a series of intense meetings with key diplomats and United Nations officials following Tuesday's "blatant violations" of the Line of Control (LoC) by Indian Air Force, Associated Press of Pakistan reported. "I am Wing Commander Abhinandan, I am IAF officer".

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif asked the world body to take notice Modi government's hostility against Pakistan and brutalities in occupied Kashmir.

"I also encouraged both ministers to prioritize direct communication and avoid further military activity", said the USA top diplomat.

Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan have fought two of their three full-fledged wars over the Himalayan territory since their partition during independence from Britain in 1947.

The shells hit the village of Kotli in Pakistan's section of Kashmir.