​Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi calls for captured pilot’s release

World Thursday 28/February/2019 12:00 PM
By: Times News Service
​Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi calls for captured pilot’s release

Muscat: Congress President Rahul Gandhi hopes that the Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot reportedly captured by Pakistan’s armed forces during yesterday’s alleged air raid will be returned to India unharmed.

“I’m sorry to hear that one of our brave IAF pilots is missing,” he said. “I hope he will return home soon, unharmed. We stand by our armed forces in these difficult times. I salute the pilots of the IAF.”

The pilot was officially identified as Wing Commander Abhinandan, by the Pakistan Armed Forces. He is allegedly being treated under the norms of ‘military ethics’.

“There is only one pilot under Pakistan Army’s custody,” said Major General Asif Ghafoor, spokesperson of the Pakistan Armed Forces. “Wing Commander Abhinandan is being treated as per norms of military ethics.”

Abhinandan’s aircraft was supposedly shot down when Pakistani air force jets were said to attack Indian defence installations. His was one of two aircraft were reported to have been downed. Ghafoor also added that Abhinandan was taken into custody after his plane crash-landed in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, and in doing so crossing the Line of Control (LOC), the de-facto boundary between the Indian and Pakistani sectors of Kashmir.

“In response to the Pakistan Air Force strikes this morning as released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Indian Air Force crossed the Line of Control. PAF shot down two Indian aircrafts inside Pakistani airspace. One of the aircraft fell inside Azad Jammu & Kashmir while other fell inside Indian Occupied Kashmir. One Indian pilot arrested by troops on ground while two in the area.”

India’s Ministry of External Affairs also said they were looking into verifying the Pakistani statements.

“In this engagement, we have unfortunately lost one MiG 21,” said Raveesh Kumar, the official spokesperson of the MEA. “The pilot is missing in action. Pakistan has claimed that he is in their custody. We are ascertaining the facts.”