AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan
- Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority has closed the country’s airspace as tensions with its nuclear rival India escalate.
- Pakistan says it shot down two Indian jets and has one Indian pilot in custody and another in a military hospital because the aircraft crossed into Pakistan’s side of the disputed Kashmir region.
- India said that it had shot done one Pakistani jet as tensions escalate between the two nuclear powers, and said one if its pilots is “missing in action.”
- Pakistan also launched airstrikes into India-controlled Kashmir on Wednesday after India claimed to strike a militant training camp in Pakistan on Tuesday.
- Tensions have escalated between the two nuclear powers since an attack earlier in February, and Pakistan has convened a meeting of its nuclear commanders while ground forces have exchanged fire in more than a dozen locations.
- China, the European Union, and the US have urged restraint, while Pakistan’s prime minister asked whether the two nations could “afford miscalculation” given their nuclear arsenals.
Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority on Wednesday said it had closed the country’s airspace to all commercial flights after the military said it shot down two Indian jets amid mounting tensions between the two nuclear rivals.
Pakistan’s military earlier Wednesday said it had shot down two Indian aircraft that crossed into Pakistan’s side of the disputed Kashmir region. A Pakistan Air Force spokesman, Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, said the air force “shot down two Indian aircrafts inside Pakistani airspace.”
But Raveesh Kumar, a spokesman for India’s foreign ministry, disputed Pakistan’s account, saying in a news briefing that Pakistan’s air strikes on military targets had been “foiled,” Reuters reported.
Ghafoor said the Pakistani army had an Indian pilot in custody. Ghafoor shared an image of a man, who he said was Indian Wing Comd Abhi Nandan and said he was “being treated as per norms of military ethics.” Ghafoor also told The Associated Press that another Indian pilot was injured and was being treated in a military hospital
There is only one pilot under Pakistan Army’s custody. Wing Comd Abhi Nandan is being treated as per norms of military ethics. pic.twitter.com/8IQ5BPhLj2
A representative for India’s foreign ministry said that India shot down one Pakistan Air Force plane on Wednesday and that one Indian pilot was “missing in action.” He said that Pakistan said it had the pilot in custody and that India would be “ascertaining the facts.”
Pakistan International Airlines warned passengers in a Wednesday tweet that Pakistan’s air-space closing might affect its flights.
Attention! As a precautionary measure, PIA flights may be affected due to closure of Pakistan Commercial Air Space. For details please call our universal helpline +92 021 111 786 786. #PIA #Pakistan pic.twitter.com/WKIEi5E0Fj
This map from the flight tracker Flightradar 24 shows empty airspace above Pakistan on Wednesday compared with a month ago:
Current flight activity above India and Pakistan vs one month prior. Pakistani airspace is currently closed to all traffic and traffic in India restricted from certain airports.