Why Kashmir remains an open wound between India, Pakistan

One Indian Air Force pilot, forced to ditch his MiG-21 fighter, was taken into Pakistani custody.

"This was not a retaliation in a true sense, but to tell Pakistan has the capability, we can do it, but we want to be responsible, we don't want an escalation, we don't want a war", Pakistani spokesman Maj. Pakistan's military released footage showing the pilot in good health-presumably to ward off criticisms that had followed of the mistreatment of Indian pilots during the 1999 Kargil War.

Thai Airways has cancelled all Europe-bound flights after Pakistan closed its airspace in the wake of escalating tensions with India.

Pakistan on Wednesday said its military had carried out airstrikes in Indian-controlled Kashmir, shooting down two Indian jets in its own airspace and capturing one of the pilots.

China's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said it reiterated its call for India and Pakistan to exercise restraint.

Meanwhile, Indian police said officials recovered seven bodies from the wreckage of the Indian air force chopper that crashed in an Indian-controlled sector of Kashmir, including six Indian airmen and a civilian on the ground. "The PAF struck down both planes - one fell on our side and the other on the Indian side".

The Indian news agency ANI reported on Wednesday that a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet was also shot down on Pakistan's of the ceasefire line dividing the two armies in Kashmir.

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India said the camp belonged to a terrorist group responsible for killing 40 Indian paramilitary troops in the disputed Kashmir region two weeks ago. Both countries agree that Indian jets made it to within at least a few miles of Balakot, a small city about five miles inside Pakistani territory.

"Following Indian counter-terrorism actions on February 26, I spoke with Indian Minister of External Affairs Swaraj to emphasize our close security partnership and shared the goal of maintaining peace and security in the region", Pompeo said in a statement.

The incident came after Indian warplanes launched an air strike yesterday against what New Delhi said was a terrorist training camp in Pakistan. In response, India accused Pakistan of backing the group and vowed to take action.

"Pakistan Air Force's F-16 that violated Indian air space was shot down in Indian retaliatory fire 3 kilometers within Pakistan territory in Lam valley", the New Delhi-based news agency ANI reported February 27.

Tuesday's strikes represent the worst escalation since 2001, when Pakistan and India moved ballistic missiles and troops to their border following an attack on parliament in New Delhi that was also blamed on Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Three of a family were among those martyred in the Indian firing.

Islamabad, while denying the Indian strike caused any major damage or casualties, had vowed to retaliate, fuelling fears of a unsafe confrontation in South Asia. New Delhi also announced the withdrawal of the Most Favoured Nation status for Pakistan and hiked the customs duty by 200 per cent on goods originating from Pakistan. "I also encouraged both ministers to prioritize direct communication and avoid further military activity", he said.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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