Pakistan's conflict with India could spiral into nuclear war, says Imran Khan

Posted February 28, 2019

Pakistan said it shot down two Indian aircraft in the disputed region of Kashmir on Wednesday and arrested the pilots, prompting both countries to shut down large swaths of airspace as tensions between them reached their highest point since a 1971 war.

Pakistan has closed its airspace after shooting down two Indian military jets on Wednesday.

Mr Khan called for dialogue with Delhi, amid growing global alarm at the crisis, but the capture of Indian prisoners of war marks the latest dramatic escalation in what is fast becoming the most serious military crisis in the region since the two neighbours last went to war in 1999.

The MEA also stated that a dossier was handed over to Pakistan with details on terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed complicity in Pulwama terror attack and provided details on the presence of JeM terror camps. Flight tracking websites showed no commercial flights in the air in Pakistan on Wednesday afternoon and none across most of the Indian states of Punjab, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Jammu & Kashmir.

Despite claims about wanting to avoid escalation, a mood of belligerent triumph spread across Pakistani news stations and online Wednesday.

Indian warplanes carried out pre-dawn airstrikes in Pakistan Tuesday on a Jaish-e-Mohammad training camp. India has long accused Pakistan of cultivating such militant groups to attack it. However, this video couldn't be authenticated and was soon removed from Pakistan government's official Twitter accounts. "I ask India: with the weapons you have and the weapons we have, can we really afford a miscalculation?" he said, alluding to their nuclear arsenals.

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After the Indian planes were downed Wednesday, Kahn said in a televised speech that the two nations should settle their dispute with diplomacy.

"It is not in Pakistan's interest to let our land be used for terrorism".

India's External Affairs Ministry spokesman, Raveesh Kumar, said one of India's MiG-21 fighter aircraft was missing and India was still "ascertaining" whether its pilot was in Pakistan's custody.

On Wednesday, Pakistani escalation followed across the Line of Control after Pakistan Air Force F-16s conducted strikes of their own.

The CAA tweeted that it "has officially closed its airspace until further notice", while a Pakistani military spokesman said the decision had been taken "due to the environment". Other airlines including Emirates and Qatar have also suspended Pakistan flights.

"Our action was only meant to convey that if you can come into our country, we can do the same", he said, referring to Wednesday's airstrikes.

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The Republic on Wednesday (Feb 27) noted with deep concern the escalating tensions between India and Pakistan and called on both sides to ensure the safety of all civilians.

Tensions have been elevated between the two countries since a suicide auto bombing by Pakistan-based terrorists killed at least 40 CRPF jawans on February 14.

It said strikes had been taken at non-military targets avoiding civilian casualties.

I reiterate that better sense should prevail.

In a statement headed "Pakistan strikes back", the foreign ministry said the action was not retaliation " to continued Indian belligerence".

The Indian Air Force has 2102 aircraft, which includes 676 fighter and 809 attack - but still comes behind China, with 2,955 aircraft overall.

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