Pakistani jets violated the Line of Control this morning, officials said, prompting Indian Air Force fighters to launch counter operations. This happened a day after the Indian Air Force launched a pre-emptive airstrike in Pakistan.
Indian Air Force jets “engaged” the Pakistani jets, forcing them to return, sources said without explained what the “engagement” was. One of the at least three Pakistani jets that crossed the Line of Control was taken down by the Indian Air Force, top officials said.
The Pakistani jet was an F-16 and its pilot was seen ejecting, Indian Army troops told their superiors, according to the officials. There was no word on the pilot’s condition.
The Pakistani jets, however, did manage to drop bombs while fleeing Indian airspace. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.
Multiple sources confirmed that Pakistani fighter jets crossed over the Line of Control (LoC) and entered the Nowshera sector in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district.
The Pakistani jets were forced to return after Indian Air Force jets launched counter operations, officials said.
Initial reports suggested that the Pakistani fighter jets were F-16s. There were reports of at least three fighter jets entering Nowshera.
News agency PTI quoted an unnamed official as saying, “The jets entered into Indian air space over Nowshera sector this morning.” They were immediately pushed back by Indian jets on air patrol, PTI reported.
Meanwhile, an Indian military helicopter crashed in Budgam, located around 200 kilometers away from Rajouri. The cause of the crash was uncertain and two pilots were feared killed.
These developments in Nowshera and Budgam came a day after the Indian Air Force launched an airstrike in Pakistan, targeting the Jaish-e-Mohmmad’s largest terrorist camp.
The airstrike, which India officially called an “intelligence-led, non-military, pre-emptive action” targetted Balakot in Pakistan. Several Jaish terrorists and commanders were killed in the strike. Pakistan denied such a strike took place but admitted that Indian Air Force jets did enter Pakistani airspace.