New Delhi: India asked Pakistan to ensure immediate release and safe return of the Indian Air Force pilot who was missing since Wednesday morning after he engaged with the Pakistani jets that violated Indian airspace.
The move came after a video showing the IAF pilot being tortured in the custody of Pakistan Army going viral on social media.
India issued a demarche to Pakistan objecting to “vulgar display” of an injured person of the Indian Air Force in violation of all norms and said Islamabad must ensure that no harm comes to the Indian defence personnel in its custody.
The External Affairs Ministry summoned Pakistan’s Acting High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah and lodged a strong protest at “the unprovoked act of aggression by Pakistan against India earlier today, including by violation of the Indian air space by Pakistan Air Force and targeting of Indian military posts”.
It also gave Pakistan a dossier with specific details of Jaish-e-Mohammed’s complicity in Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed earlier this month.
“India also strongly objected to Pakistan’s vulgar display of an injured personnel of the Indian Air Force in violation of all norms of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Convention. It was made clear that Pakistan would be well advised to ensure that no harm comes to the Indian defence personnel in its custody.
“India also expects his immediate and safe return,” the statement said.
The MEA further, condemned Pakistan’s act of aggression and said that instead of focusing on bilateral relations between both the countries and combating terrorism, Pakistan Air Force blatantly violated Indian Air Space and targeted military posts of India.
Earlier today, India shot down a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) F-16 that had come close to the Line of Control (LoC) in Nowshera sector of Jammu and Kashmir.
“In an aerial engagement between Indian and Pak Air Forces, 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,” said External Affairs Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar told the media later.
Pakistan had claimed that it has captured two Indian pilots, one of whom was identified as Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. The identity of the other was not known. However, Pakistani military spokesman later clarified that Pakistan army has only one Indian pilot in custody.