A Pakistani Air Force F-16 fighter jet was shot down by Indian air defence forces in Rajouri sector of Jammu region onWednesday morning, officials said. A parachute was seen as the F-16 was going down, but the condition of the pilot is unknown.
Pakistan denied its F-16 was shot down and claimed that the US-made warplane was not even part of the formation. It said that its jets had crossed the Line of Control to undertake strikes in India for “self defence”, a day after IAF warplanes conducted airstrikes at a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp in Pakistan.
The Pakistan Foreign Office, said in a statement: “Today, Pakistan Air Force undertook strikes across Line of Control from within Pakistani airspace. This was not a retaliation to continued Indian belligerence,”
“Pakistan has therefore, taken strikes at non-military target, avoiding human loss and collateral damage. Sole purpose being to demonstrate our right, will and capability for self defence. We have no intention of escalation, but are fully prepared to do so if forced into that paradigm.”
“That is why we undertook the action with clear warning and in broad daylight. For the last few years, India has been trying to establish what they call ‘a new normal’ a thinly veiled term for doing acts of aggression at whatever pretext they wish on a given day,” it said.
The major escalation of tension has forced the government to shut down five airports at Srinagar, Jammu, Leh Chandigarh and Amritsar for civilian air traffic shortly after Pakistani jets entered India.
In Srinagar, an official of the Airports Authority of India told PTI, “The civilian air traffic has been suspended temporarily in view of the emergency”.