ISLAMABAD — The Latest on escalating India-Pakistan tensions (all times local):
Pakistan’s foreign ministry says the country’s Air Force is carrying out airstrikes from within Pakistani airspace across the disputed Kashmir boundary but that this was not in “retaliation to continued Indian belligerence”.
The ministry said the strikes on Wednesday are aimed at “avoiding human loss and collateral damage.”
The statement came shortly after the Pakistani military shot down two Indian airplanes after they crossed the Kashmir border and captured one of the pilots.
It says the Pakistanis have “no intention of escalation, but are fully prepared to do so if forced into that paradigm. That is why we undertook the action with clear warning and in broad daylight.”
Meanwhile, civil administrator Baseer Khan confirmed that the airport in Srinagar, the main city in Indian-controlled Kashmir, was closed and said it was a “temporary and precautionary measure.”
Pakistan’s army spokesman says the country’s air force shot down two Indian warplanes after they crossed the boundary between the two nuclear-armed rivals in the disputed territory of Kashmir, and that one Indian pilot was captured.
Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor says Pakistani troops on ground captured the Indian pilot. He says one of the planes crashed in Pakistan’s part of Kashmir and the other went down in Indian-controlled Kashmir.
He says that “one Indian pilot was arrested by troops on ground while two are in the area”on Wednesday.
Indian air force spokesman Anupam Banerjee in New Delhi said he has no information on Pakistan’s statement.
Earlier, senior Indian police officer Munir Ahmed Khan said an Indian Air Force plane crashed in Indian-controlled sector of Kashmir. It wasn’t immediately known if there were casualties.
Another police officer, S.P. Pani, said firefighters were at the site in Budgam area where the warplane crashed. Eyewitnesses said soldiers fired in air to keep residents away from the crash site.
India says it does not wish to see a further escalation of the situation with Pakistan and will continue to act with responsibility and restraint.
This shortly after Pakistani police said mortar shells fired by Indian troops from across the frontier in the Himalayan region of Kashmir killed six civilians on Wednesday.
India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj says the limited objective of Tuesday’s pre-emptive strike inside Pakistan was to act decisively against the terrorist Jaish-e-Mohammad group to prevent another attack in India.
Swaraj spoke at the 16th Meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia, India and China in Wuzhen, China.
Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad group claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a convoy of India’s paramilitary forces in the Indian portion of Kashmir on Feb. 14 that killed 40 troops.
Pakistan said there were no casualties in India’s airstrike near the town of Balakot on Tuesday.
Pakistani police say mortar shells fired by Indian troops from across the frontier in the Himalayan region of Kashmir struck homes, killing six civilians and wounding several others amid increasing tensions between the two South Asian nuclear rivals.
Local police official Mohammad Altaf says six people, including children, were killed Wednesday in Kotli village in Pakistan’s part of Kashmir, which is split between Pakistan and India and claimed by both in its entirety.
Pakistani and Indian troops deployed in Kashmir often trade fire.
The latest civilian casualties came a day after tensions escalated sharply following a pre-dawn airstrike by India that New Delhi said targeted a terrorist training camp in northwest Pakistan.
Pakistan says Indian warplanes dropped bombs near the town of Balakot but there were no casualties.