The Indian government has confirmed that an Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot has gone missing in action and has acknowledged that Pakistan has claimed that the pilot is in their captivity. The captured IAF pilot, according to Pakistan's claim, is Abhinandan, a MiG 21 Bison pilot.
"India had informed about counterterrorism (CT) action it took yesterday (Tuesday) against a training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Pakistan based on credible evidence that JeM intended to launch more attacks. Against this Counter Terrorism Action, Pakistan has responded this morning by using its Air Force to target military installations on the Indian side. Due to our high state of readiness and alertness, Pakistan’s attempts were foiled successfully," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
"The Pakistan Air Force was detected and the Indian Air Force responded instantly. In that aerial engagement, one Pakistan Air Force fighter aircraft was shot down by a MiG 21 Bison of the Indian Air Force. The Pakistani aircraft was seen by ground forces falling from the sky on the Pakistan side. In this engagement, we have unfortunately lost one MiG 21. The pilot is missing in action. Pakistan has claimed that he is in their custody. We are ascertaining the facts," the MEA spokesperson added.
This comes after Pakistan put out a video of the captured IAF pilot. Pakistan had earlier claimed that two IAF pilots were captured by them but later clarified that only one pilot is in their custody. Pakistan’s Major General Asif Ghafoor, the director general (DG) of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) had earlier stated, “Two Indian pilots were taken into custody and they are being treated well: one is injured and is being provided proper medical care.” India has, however, not said anything about a second pilot.
The video shows the blindfolded pilot, wearing military apparel. The man in the video states, “I have got hurt.” Prompted by a man behind the camera to talk from the beginning, he says, “My name is Wing Commander Abhinandan. My service number is 27981. I’m a flying pilot. My religion is Hindu.”
He is then prompted once more, to which he replies, “I’m sorry sir, that’s all I am allowed to tell you.” Someone asks, “Squadron?” to which the ‘captured’ man says, “I’m not supposed to tell you that no.”
The video concludes with the man saying, “May I request a little information? Am I with the Pakistani army?”
India's statement in full:
The conflict between Indian and Pakistan escalated on Wednesday after the Pakistan Air Force violated Indian airspace in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch and Nowshera sectors. While Indian officials said that a Pakistani Air Force F-16 fighter jet was shot down in Jammu, Pakistan has claimed to have shot down two IAF aircraft.
In a press conference, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, the director general (DG) of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said, “Two aircrafts of the Indian Air Force infringed on the Line of Control and entered Pakistan. The Pakistan Air Force was ready. They took it on, there was engagement, and in the end, both Indian aircrafts were shot down. Out of that, the wreckage of one fell on our side, and the wreckage of the second fell on theirs (sic).”