Absent US diplomacy, India and Pakistan stand at the precipice of war


British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt said the United Kingdom government had been "working round the clock" to encourage Pakistan and India to "de-escalate and reduce tensions".

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.

India has demanded the release of a fighter pilot shot down by Pakistan warplanes in a major escalation between the two nuclear powers over Kashmir.

India has also continued its crackdown on suspected militants operating in Kashmir, a mountainous region that both countries claim in full but rule in part.

"Due to airspace restrictions, flights to and from Amritsar, Srinagar, Chandigarh and Jammu are now on hold", Vistara said.

The dispute escalated in the past two weeks after a suicide bombing killed 41 Indian soldiers in Indian-administered Kashmir.

A Pakistani military official said air force shot down two Indian planes.

"A spokesman for Pakistan's military also tweeted a photo of the same man in the tea clip, identifying him as:Abhi Nandan" and saying that he "is being treated as per the norms of military ethics".

"Indian media says a Pakistani F-16 was downed - but Pakistan has not used any F-16s so far, nor has any been shot down", Ghafoor said. He did not elaborate on the pilot's injuries.

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Ghafoor confirmed that two Indian pilots had been arrested but gave no further details.

A spokesman for India's foreign ministry said it lost a combat jet and could not find the pilot while it foiled an attack by Pakistan military planes in Kashmir.

India's Ministry of External Affairs has asked for "his immediate and safe return".

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Tensions remain high on the Asian Subcontinent where tens of thousands of Indian and Pakistani soldiers face off along the Kashmir boundary.

The Press Trust of India news agency says these airports are located at Srinagar, Jammu and Leh. An official at the Airports Authority of India declined to comment.

Thereafter, Indian Air Force jets responded and in an aerial engagement one Pakistani F16 was shot down by the IAF.

The government in New Delhi justified the airstrikes on Pakistan's territory by claiming that Islamabad doesn't do anything to combat terrorists. But Pakistan maintained the Indian bombs had fallen on a vacant rural area with no loss of life and promised to take journalists to see the site.

"Pakistan's plan was that there should be no casualties or damage, only to show Pakistani capability", said Khan.

Crowds in Mumbai celebrate reports of Indian aircraft bombing Pakistani territory.

It said Pakistan has "no intention of escalation, but we are fully prepared to do so if forced".

Imran Khan addressed the nation today hours after one captured Indian pilot, bloodied and blindfolded, was paraded for the cameras by Pakistan's military. He says one of the planes crashed in Pakistan's part of Kashmir and the other went down in Indian-controlled Kashmir. The attack came one day after Indian fighter jets conducted an airstrike in Pakistan.

"It is unfortunate that instead of fulfilling its worldwide obligation and bilateral commitment to take credible action against terrorist entities and individuals operating from its soil, Pakistan has acted with aggression against India", the MEA stated.

"The Indian air force responded strongly and they were pushed back", the official said.

It was not immediately known if there were casualties. India wanted to claim Kashmir because it's a Muslim-majority region and wanted to demonstrate that a significant minority could thrive within a predominantly Hindu country.