Defence Minister Meets Air Force Pilot Abhinandan Varthaman In Hospital

Defence Minister Meets Air Force Pilot Abhinandan Varthaman In Hospital

WASHINGTON:The US needs to figure out some way to make sure that there is no nuclear confrontation between Pakistan and India, a former top American diplomat said.

The IAF pilot reached the Wagah-Attari border, just a few minutes ago, after he was released by the Pakistani government as a peace gesture.

Indian media slammed the video as "distasteful" and said it breached worldwide norms for prisoners of war.

Indian warplanes carried out air strikes on Tuesday inside Pakistan on what New Delhi called militant camps.

But while the tension has eased to some degree, with many foreign nations including the USA stepping in to urge calm and push for dialogue, the two long-time foes' military forces have continued to exchange fire, mostly shelling, along the disputed border in the Kashmir region.

It is understood that during her meeting with the IAF pilot, the Defence Minister inquired about his health and the sequence of events that led to his landing and subsequent capture in Pakistan.

There are 120 MiG-21 fighter jets in India. They added that heavily armed Indian troops "indiscriminately targeted border villagers" along the Line of Control.

The train service, known as Samjhauta Express, was suspended by Pakistani authorities this past week, stranding people on both sides.

Tensions between the two nuclear-armed rivals have soared since a suicide bombing in Kashmir on February 14 by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad militants killed 40 Indian paramilitaries.

Last month, a suicide bomber had attacked an Indian military convoy in Indian-occupied Kashmir's Pulwama district, which resulted in the death of more than 40 Indian paramilitaries. When he crossed over to India Friday night, Abhinandan's right eye above his handlebar moustache appeared swollen.

"As a peace gesture we are releasing the Indian pilot tomorrow", Mr Khan told Pakistani lawmakers in the National Assembly on Thursday.

Tensions between India and Pakistan have escalated dramatically since February 14, when Indian paramilitary forces on the New Delhi-controlled side of Jammu and Kashmir were hit by a deadly bomb attack reportedly orchestrated by Pakistan-based militants, which killed 37 Indian security forces. He was accompanied by Pakistani officials and a lady.

Erdoğan was referring to Friday's return of Indian Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, whose MiG fighter was shot down a day earlier as he chased Pakistani jets over disputed Kashmir.

"We can not allow non-state elements to bring our country and the region to the brink [of war]", he said.

But clashes in Kashmir continued throughout Friday and Saturday.

"These battles are fought on our bodies, in our homes and fields and we still don't have anything in our hands".

Lockheed Martin India said it "has made no such comments".

Rebel groups have been fighting Indian rule since 1989 and demand that Kashmir be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.

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