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Pakistan says shoots down two Indian jets in Kashmir, arrests 2 pilots

Published: Updated:

Pakistan shot down two Indian Air Force planes in its airspace in Kashmir on Wednesday, a military spokesman said, adding that two Indian pilots had been captured.

“PAF shot down two Indian aircrafts inside Pakistani airspace,” tweeted military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor, adding that one aircraft had fallen in Pakistani-held Kashmir, while the other crashed on the Indian side.

“One Indian pilot arrested by troops on ground while two in the area,” he had said earlier before later confirming that two pilots were captured.

Meanwhile, an Indian police official said that an Indian Air Force plane crashed in the disputed area of Kashmir on Wednesday, killing two pilots and a civilian, amid heightened tensions with neighboring Pakistan.

Ghafoor's statement came as Indian sources said that Pakistani fighter jets had violated airspace over Indian Kashmir, but were forced back over the de facto border of the disputed territory.

A top government official in Indian-administered Kashmir told AFP the Pakistani jets briefly crossed the frontier but were pushed back by the Indian Air Force.

The Press Trust of India reported that Pakistani fighter planes crossed at Poonch and Nowshera, two locations on the Indian side of the de facto border, but were repelled.

PTI said the Pakistani jets dropped bombs while returning but that there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

The Pakistani foreign office also released a statement saying that the air force “undertook strikes” across the border, known as the Line of Control, Wednesday -- however it did not elaborate on what it meant by “strikes” and did not mention shooting down planes.

It said the strikes were aimed at a “non military target”, adding: “We have no intention of escalation”.

Meanwhile, Indian news reports say that airports in the Indian portion of Kashmir have been closed for civilian traffic shortly after an Indian air force jet crashed in the area.

Indian airlines also cancelled service to least six cities in northern India on Wednesday and several airports were closed as tensions with neighbouring Pakistan escalated.

IndiGo, India's biggest airline by market share, low-cost rival GoAir and full-service carriers Jet Airways and Vistara, a joint venture between Singapore Airlines and Tata Sons said flights to several airports were on hold or temporarily suspended.

The incursion over the heavily militarized Line of Control comes a day after Indian warplanes carried out a strike in Pakistan on what New Delhi said was a militant training camp, in retaliation for a February 14 suicide bombing in Kashmir that killed 40 Indian troops.

Tensions have dramatically escalated between the nuclear-armed rivals since Indian warplanes flew into Pakistani airspace and struck what New Delhi said was a camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), the group that claimed the Kashmir bombing.

Islamabad, while denying the Indian strike caused any major damage or casualties, had vowed to retaliate -- fueling fears of a dangerous confrontation in South Asia.