Defer non-essential travel to Jammu, Kashmir, Pakistan: MFA

Kerry Wise
February 28, 2019

Kashmiri villagers gather near the wreckage of an Indian aircraft after it crashed in Budgam area, outskirts of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Wednesday, Feb.27, 2019.

Both China and the European Union have also called for restraint.

"From here, it is imperative that we use our heads and act with wisdom", Khan said.

The Indian government's response to Wednesday's developments has been to say that one of its planes was "lost" with its pilot "missing in action". He refuses to answer questions about his hometown and exact job.

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

There remains the risk that the tensions between two bitter rivals will result in the worst-case scenario, Sultan Mehmood Hali, a retired group commander of the Pakistan Air Force, told RT.

In a tweet, Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority said the airspace would be closed until further notice. One of the downed planes crashed in Pakistan's part of Kashmir while the other went down in an Indian-controlled section of the Himalayan region, Pakistan's army spokesman Maj.

Regionally, it says to avoid all travel to Jammu and Kashmir.

Anit Mukherjee, a former Indian Army major and assistant professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said: "This is unprecedented territory - we haven't had tit-for-tat airstrikes between India and Pakistan since the 1971 war". He had said earlier that two pilots were captured, but did not explain the discrepancy.

Uzair Younus, a South Asia director at the Washington-based consultancy Albright Stonebridge Group LLC, said: "While details of the attack remain murky, we are already seeing India claiming a massive success, while Pakistan is downplaying the true extent of the damages".

The Indian air force has ordered Kashmir's main airport in Srinagar along with at least three others in neighbouring states to close, an official said. They gave no cause for the crash.

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Bahrain's national carrier Gulf Air also suspended all flights to and from Pakistan.

Pakistan says it shot down two Indian fighter jets and has captured two pilots.

Canada's largest carrier cancelled one flight to India from Vancouver and another flight en route to Delhi has turned back to Toronto, spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur said by e-mail. Pakistanis have mocked the IAF on their claims to have carried out the mission successfully.

This is the first time in history that two nuclear powers launch air strikes at each other. 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.

Residents on both sides of the de-facto frontier, the so-called Line of Control, said there were exchanges of fire between the two sides through the night into Wednesday morning.

The airman's treatment at the hands of Pakistani troops drew both condemnation and praise, while at his house in southern India supporters gathered to record messages of solidarity. The attack came one day after Indian fighter jets conducted an airstrike in Pakistan.

The Pakistani official was also told that New Delhi was waiting for immediate and verifiable actions against terrorism that purportedly spreads out from Pakistani territory.

"Following the closure of the airspace in Pakistan, FlyDubai has advised passengers to check the flight status on", said the spokesman.

Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan said India knew it wasn't attacking a terrorist camp and blamed the bombing on "self-serving" politicians.

Pakistan had vowed to respond after India triumphantly claimed that it had wiped out a terrorist training camp in...

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is urging India and Pakistan to "exercise maximum restraint" as tensions over the disputed Kashmir region mount.