BREAKING: IAF Pilot Missing, Says MEA

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New Delhi: An Indian pilot is missing after an Indian Air Force aircraft shot down a Pakistani jet that was targeting installations in India, the government confirmed today as Pakistan claimed “strikes across Line of Control from within Pakistani airspace” in an escalation of hostilities a day after Indian Air Force Jets crossed the Line of Control and struck a terror training camp.

“The Pakistan Air Force was detected and the Indian Air Force responded instantly. In that aerial engagement, one Pakistan Air Force fighter aircraft was shot down by a MiG 21 Bison of the Indian Air Force. The Pakistani aircraft was seen by ground forces falling from the sky on the Pakistan side. In this engagement, we have unfortunately lost one MiG 21. The pilot is missing in action. Pakistan has claimed that he is in their custody. We are ascertaining the facts,” said the Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

The Pakistani F-16 aircraft crashed on its territory, in the Lam Valley area along the Line of Control.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi left an event early and met with top officials including National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, the Defence and Foreign Secretaries and intelligence officials.

Amid rising tension, India will avoid the Pakistani airspace, said officials. Eight airports in north India, including Amritsar, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Jammu, Srinagar and Leh, were declared shut by the Airports Authority of India, but the order was withdrawn within hours.