Amid reports of Wing Commander Abhinandan being captured by the Pakistani security forces along the Line of Control, the Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday confirmed that one pilot of the Indian Air Force is missing in action.
Addressing a press conference, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar confirmed there was an air to air engagement between the Indian and Pakistani air forces early Wednesday morning.
“India had informed about Counter Terrorism (CT) action it took yesterday against a training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Pakistan based on credible evidence that JeM intended to launch more attacks. Against this Counter Terrorism Action, 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, Pak’s attempts were foiled successfully,” said Kumar.
“The Pakistan Air Force was detected and the Indian Air Force responded instantly. In that aerial engagement, one Pakistan Air Force fighter aircraft was shot down by a MiG 21 Bison of the Indian Air Force.”
“The Pakistani aircraft was seen by ground forces falling from the sky on Pak side. In this engagement, we have unfortunately lost one MiG 21. The pilot is missing in action. Pakistan has claimed that he is in their custody. We are ascertaining the facts,” added the spokesperson.
The MEA spokesperson did not take any question from the media. Pakistan has not yet informed India about the missing Indian pilot through official channels, sources have told The Indian Express.
Earlier in the day, the Pakistan Army released a video in which an IAF pilot is seen identifying himself as Wing Commander Abhinandan.
The Indian Express has learnt that a complement of Pakistan Air Force aircraft, presumably comprising Mirages, F16s and JF17s, crossed over to the Indian side of LoC in Rajauri-Naushera sector. This attack happened at around 10 AM, and Pakistani bombs missed the targets which seemed to be an ammunition point, a supply point, a brigade headquarters and a battalion headquarters in the area.