India wants Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who is in Pakistan custody, back immediately and unharmed and asserted that there was no question of any deal, government sources told The Indian Express.
The government sources also said India has given evidence to Pakistan on terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) on the Pulwama attack and called on Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to walk the talk. READ | India-Pak tension LIVE
VIDEO | MiG 21 Pilot Missing, One Pak Aircraft Shot Down
India wants credible and verifiable action against terrorists emanating from Pakistan soil, government sources said. “Pakistan is indulging in war hysteria. India not going to get drawn into it, we want credible, verifiable action against terrorists, their proxies, infrastructure and cross border terrorism,” they said.
Rubbishing Pakistan’s narrative that IAF air strikes in Balakot did not hit the targets, the government sources insisted that strikes were 100 per cent on target. In the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday, India had carried out “pre-emptive” strikes against “biggest training camp” of JeM in Balakot in Kyber Pakhtunkhwa, in which “a very large number” of JeM terrorists and their trainers were “eliminated”.
A day later, Pakistan Air Force aircraft violated Indian airspace in J&K and attempted air strikes but caused little damage on the ground as the bombs fell in uninhabited areas near military installations.
In the process of thwarting the PAF’s intrusion, the IAF lost a MiG-21 Bison–its pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, who ejected across the Line of Control.
Abhinandan’s aircraft, sources said, had crossed to the Pakistani side of LoC as he engaged the Pakistani F-16s. His aircraft, sources said, was hit by Pakistan Army’s ground air defence weapons and he had to eject. He was captured by local residents who later handed him over to the Pakistan Army which started circulating videos of his capture. While Pakistan initially said that two IAF pilots were in its custody, later in the day, it said it had arrested “only one.”
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As Pakistan released videos of the pilot in its custody, the chain of events complicated the escalation ladder between the two nuclear-armed countries.