New Delhi: An Indian Air Force Pilot of a MiG 21 Bison went missing after the jet was apparently shot down by Pakistan. The pilot “is missing in action”, the Ministry of External Affairs confirmed during a media briefing.
Pakistan has claimed that the pilot is in their custody. “We are ascertaining the facts”, Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said. Significantly, the Pakistani government has not sent a formal communication to the Indian government confirming the capture of the pilot.
Radio Pakistan has released a video which purportedly shows the captured pilot.
One Pakistan fighter jet was also shot down by IAF MiG 21 and ground troops have reported seeing it falling on PoK side, Raveesh added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi left an event at Vigyan Bhawan here early today following the aerial engagement and met with top officials including National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, the Defence and Foreign Secretaries and intelligence officials amid rising tension. Till the last report came in, the meeting was still on.
India said it will avoid the Pakistani airspace. Eight airports in north India, including Amritsar, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Jammu, Srinagar and Leh, were declared shut but the order was withdrawn within hours.
Pakistan has stopped flights from Islamabad and Lahore.