India asks Pak to immediately return IAF pilot

Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah. (File Photo)

India on Wednesday summoned the acting high commissioner of Pakistan and demanded immediate and safe return of an IAF pilot who was detained by Pakistan following an aerial engagement by air forces of the two countries.

It has also been made clear to Pakistan that no harm should be caused to the Indian defence personnel, the External Affairs Ministry said, adding it has conveyed strong objection to the neighbouring country at the "vulgar display" of an injured personnel in violation of all norms of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Convention.

Pakistan detained Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman following a fierce engagement between air forces of the two sides along the Line of Control in which a Pakistani jet was downed. IAF also lost a MiG 21 jet in the engagement.

"It was made clear that Pakistan would be well advised to ensure that no harm comes to the Indian defence personnel in its custody. India also expects his immediate and safe return," the MEA said.

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The Pakistani Acting High Commissioner was summoned this afternoon by the MEA to lodge a strong protest at the unprovoked act of aggression by Pakistan against India, including by violation of the Indian air space and targeting of Indian military posts.

The response by Pakistani air force came a day after IAF smashed a terrorist training camp of JeM terror camp in Balakot in Pakistan.

"This is in contrast to the India's non-military anti-terror pre-emptive strike at a JeM terrorist camp in Balakot on February 26. It is unfortunate that instead of fulfilling its international 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 said.

"It was clearly conveyed that India reserves the right to take firm and decisive action to protect its national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity against any act of aggression or cross-border terrorism," said the MEA.

It said regret was expressed at continuing denial by Pakistan's political and and military leadership at the presence of terrorist infrastructure in territories under its control.

"A dossier was handed over to Pakistan side with specific details of JeM complicity in Pulwama terror attack and the presence of JeM terror camps and its leadership in Pakistan." the MEA said.

"It was conveyed that India expects Pakistan to take immediate and verifiable action against terrorism emanating from territories under its control," it said.

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India asks Pak to immediately return IAF pilot

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