NEWS
28/02/2019 9:16 AM IST | Updated 28/02/2019 9:29 AM IST

India Demands Immediate, Safe Return Of IAF Pilot Captured By Pakistan

India also made it clear to Pakistan that no harm should be caused to the Indian defence personnel, the External Affairs Ministry said.

P. Ravikumar / Reuters

NEW DELHI — India on Wednesday demanded immediate and safe return of its IAF pilot, captured by Pakistan after an aerial confrontation, and strongly objected to the neighbouring country’s “vulgar display” of an injured defence personnel in violation of international norms.

Summoning Pakistan’s Acting High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah to lodge a strong protest at “the unprovoked act of aggression” by Pakistan including targeting of military posts, the External Affairs Ministry said the envoy was clearly told that India reserves the right to take “firm and decisive action to protect its national security”.

India also made it clear to Pakistan that no harm should be caused to the Indian defence personnel, the External Affairs Ministry said.

Pakistan captured the pilot 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.

In its sharp-worded statement, the MEA said India has 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,” the MEA said.

The MEA lodged 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 Pakistani air force action came a day after the IAF smashed terrorist training camps of JeM in Pakistan.

India said the Pakistani aggression was “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 added.

“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.