After tensions escalated between India and Pakistan on Wednesday, the Indian government confirmed that an Indian Air Force pilot is missing in action and has acknowledged that Pakistan has claimed that the pilot is in their captivity, and that they were trying to ascertain the facts. Hours after Pakistan shot an Indian plane down and put out videos of an Indian pilot in their captivity, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said that they are ready to hold talks with India.
In his statement, Imran Khan claimed that two Indian MiGs crossed the border, and they were shot down. However, as per the statement made by Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar earlier on Wednesday, an incursion by Pakistan Air Force in Indian airspace was detected and the Indian Air Force (IAF) responded instantly. In the aerial engagement, one PAF fighter aircraft was shot down by a MIG 21 Bison of the IAF. In that engagement, however, one IAF MIG 21 was lost and the pilot is missing in action.
Read Imran Khan's full statement here:
The situation that has been going on since yesterday -- I want to take you into confidence about it. See, after Pulwama, we have offered to India that if they want to do any kind of investigation, we are ready for it. They faced casualties in Pulwama. And I know how hurt the people there are, because in the last 10 years, we've faced 70,000 casualties. In the last 10 years, I've visited so many hospitals, where I've seen people -- bomb blast victims who've lost their hands, who've lost their legs, who cannot walk, who've lost their eyes. So I know what the families of those who've lost their lives and those who have been injured are going through. And that's why we made an offer to India that Pakistan is ready to help them with any investigation they want to do. We did this because it's not in Pakistan's interest that our land is used for any sort of attacks anywhere in the world. Nor should anyone from outside use Pakistan's soil. So there was no dispute about this -- we were ready. When we were ready to fully cooperate, despite this, why should India take any action? We are forced to take action if they do, because no sovereign country can allow another to take action within their country. We cannot allow them to be judge, jury and executioner. I suspected that they would take some action because elections are coming up in India. So I told India we will have to answer with action. So when they took action yesterday morning, we had a conversation between the Army Chief, the Air Chief and me. We did not immediately act because we did not know what the damage was in Pakistan. It would have been irresponsible of Pakistan if we hadn't assessed the damage and taken action against India, and killed their people and we hadn't had any casualties on our side. And today, we took action.
Our plan was always to ensure there be no collateral damage, no casualties. We just wanted to tell India that we have the capability -- that if you can enter our country, we can also enter your country and take action. This was our only cause.
During Pakistan's retaliation, two Indian MiGs crossed the border. We shot them down. The pilots are with us.
The question is, where do we go from here. This is very important.
It's very important that we use some wisdom and mindfulness at this point. How many ever big wars have happened in the world, there have been miscalculations in all these wars. No one who started a war thought about where the war would go. First World War was supposed to end in a few months, it lasted 6 years. In Second World War, there was a point when Hitler thought he wants to win Russia. He didn't think about the delay because of Russian winter, and that led to his destruction. Similarly, in the War on Terror, did America think they would be embroiled in Afghanistan for 17 years? Did America think Vietnam war would go so far?
World history tells us that that there are miscalculations in wars. My question to the Indian government is -- with the weapons that you have and we have, can we afford a miscalculation? Shouldn't we think about what will happen if the situation escalates? This will not be in my control or in Narendra Modi's control.
That's why, I once again invite you. We are sitting ready -- we have told you that the hurt you have faced because of Pulwama tragedy... If you want any kind of dialogue over terrorism, we are ready.
But I would like to tell you again, that right now, better sense should prevail. We should sit down and talk about our problems.