ISLAMABAD: Pakistan does “not want to go towards war” with India, its military spokesman said Wednesday, hours after Islamabad said it shot down two Indian warplanes in its airspace, igniting fears of an all-out conflict between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
“We do not want escalation, we do not want to go towards war,” Major General Asif Ghafoor told a press conference in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, calling for talks with New Delhi.
The military spokesperson said Pakistan had no option but to respond to Indian aggression.
Addressing the media, he said Pakistan was forced to hit back but we did in a responsible way.
The Pakistan Air Force engaged six Indian targets and hit them when they were in an open area, he added. “We had made sure that there shall not be any civilian damage and no collateral damage.”
He added that two Indian pilots had been captured, with one in custody and one in hospital.
Ghafoor said the jets had been shot down after Pakistani planes earlier Wednesday flew across the Line of Control hitting non-military targets including supply depots.
Afterwards, he said, the two Indian planes crossed the LoC into Pakistani airspace.
“The Pakistan Air Force was ready, they took them on, there was an engagement. As a result both the Indian planes were shot down and the wreckage of one fell on our side while the wreckage of the other fell on their side,” he said.
He asked the international community to put pressure on India and tell them that escalation would result into a major conflict between two countries.
The spokesperson also rubbished Indian claims that a PAF F-16 jet was shot down.
Initially, the Indian media and government didn’t accepted this claim of Pakistan but now they have released their official statement as well and said;
According to Indian statement, “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.
In statement Indian informed that Counter Terrorism action was taken yesterday against Jaish-e-Mohammad outfits and training camps at Balakot. They further said that this action was taken on information of JeM planning to carry out more attacks on Indian forces.
Against this Counter Terrorism action by India, Pakistan has responded this morning using Air Force with aim of targeting military installations on Indian side of LOC, which were foiled successfully.
Major General Asif Ghafor already rejected the claim of India to shoot down Pakistani Jet, saying, “the claim of shooting down PAF F- 16 is rubbish.”