India on Wednesday demanded the immediate and safe return of its IAF pilot Abhinandan, captured by Pakistan after an aerial confrontation, and strongly objected to the neighbouring country’s “vulgar display” of injured defence personnel in violation of international norms.
New Delhi summoned the Pakistan envoy and lodged a strong protest over what it called an “unprovoked act of aggression by Pakistan”, saying its jets had targeted military installations in India a day after Indian fighter jets crossed the Line of Control and carried out a strike at a major terror camp.
Pakistan captured Wing Commander Abhinandan 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.
Pakistan initially claimed it had two Indian pilots, but amended later that “there is only one pilot” and he is being treated “as per norms of military ethics”. In various videos circulated by Pakistani accounts, the pilot was seen blindfolded and wounded, his arms tied behind his back, being interrogated.
In its sharp-worded statement, the MEA said India has strongly objected to Pakistan’s “vulgar display” of injured personnel of the Indian Air Force in violation of all norms of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Convention.
Amid rising tension, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with the military chiefs, the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, the Defence and Foreign Secretaries and intelligence officials. He called the military chiefs again to his home for discussions.