India Wants "Safe Return" Of Pilot In Pak Custody: Full Statement

Pakistan had put out a video of the Indian Air Force pilot whose MiG-21 jet had crashed after shooting down a Pakistani aircraft.

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India Wants 'Safe Return' Of Pilot In Pak Custody: Full Statement

A MiG 21 Bison pilot is in Pakistan's custody, the government has confirmed


New Delhi: 

India confirmed that an injured Air Force Pilot is in Pakistan's custody and said it expected his "immediate and safe return" after both countries engaged in an air battle. Calling it an "unprovoked act of aggression by Pakistan", India said they have conveyed they have the "right to take firm and decisive action to protect its national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity" against any cross-border terrorism.

In the worst escalation of hostilities between the countries in decades, a day after India's air strike to target a terror camp in Balakot, fighter jets of both sides engaged in direct battle. Pakistan later put out a video of the Indian Air Force pilot whose MiG-21 jet had crashed after shooting down a Pakistani aircraft.

Here is the full statement by the Ministry of External Affairs:

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

This is in contrast to the India's non-military anti-terror pre-emptive strike at a JeM terrorist camp in Balakot on 26 February 2019. 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.

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.

India also strongly objected to Pakistan's vulgar display of an injured personnel of the Indian Air Force in violation of all norms of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Convention. 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.  

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

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