The strained relations between India and Pakistan further deteriorated after India conducted an unauthorised airstrike on what it claimed was a camp of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist group, located across the so-called Line of Control (LoC) separating the Indian- and Pakistani-controlled parts of Jammu and Kashmir.
Relations between India and Pakistan have been strained of late over incidents near the border in the Jammu and Kashmir region. Late in February the Pakistani Air Force announced it had downed two Indian jets following an air raid by the Indian Air Force against an alleged terrorist camp on Pakistan's soil.
Tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad culminated on 27 February, when the two sides’ warplanes engaged in an air battle over Kashmir just a day after India’s airstrike on an alleged jihadist camp on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control. The dogfight led to the downing of an Indian Air Force MiG-21 and a Pakistani F-16.
While Pakistani PM Imran Khan has won accolades for facilitating de-escalation of tension with India by unconditionally freeing the captured Indian fighter pilot and by acting against terror outfits, the Indian foreign minister has questioned Khan’s propriety by asking if he would be willing to hand over the terror mastermind Masood Azhar to India.
Earlier this week, Indian defence scientists had successfully tested guided a Pinaka rocket, a weapon system designed to conduct precise strikes at distances of up to 90 kilometres.
Over the last several weeks, the Indian Air Force has repeatedly reported downing Pakistani drones that allegedly invaded India's airspace in what New Delhi regards as reconnaissance missions.
The New York Times came under sharp attack once again after an article on India’s general election described the 14 February Pulwama terrorist attack as an “explosion” – a slip which was then quietly changed to “bombing”.
Pakistan on Monday issued a warning to India not to undertake any misadventure in view of the upcoming national elections in the country. India had earlier asserted that it is maintaining an optimal level of military preparedness to tackle any eventuality.
The terror Attack in Pulwama (Kashmir), which left 40 Indian soldiers dead spiralled into a serious conflagration between India and Pakistan. Following the attack, India launched an aerial attack and dropped bombs on alleged terror hideouts in Pakistani territory, resulting in retaliation by the Pakistan Air Force.
Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, who is on a three-day visit to the US, is likely to discuss bilateral, regional and global issues of common interest with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Several forays into Indian airspace have been made by Pakistani drones all along the western international border between the two countries in recent weeks following an Indian air strike against alleged terror camps at Balakot in Pakistan.
The developments come shortly after India reiterated that it had "eyewitness accounts" and "electronic evidence" to corroborate claims that Pakistan had scrambled US-built F-16 fighter jets for aerial combat with the Indian Air Force in late February - an allegation vehemently denied by Islamabad.
The statement comes weeks after India accused Pakistan of harbouring terrorists and having a “direct hand” in the deadly suicide bomb attack on the Indian paramilitary police force in Kashmir in mid-February. Islamabad, for its part, has vehemently denied the allegations and arrested over 40 terrorists earlier this week.
Pakistan has consistenly rejected accusations by New Delhi that it had violated an F-16 sale agreement with the United States, having allegedly deployed US-made fighter jets to shoot down an Indian warplane last month.
Historically tense relations between the two nuclear-armed neigbours have further escalated after 40 Indian troops were killed in a car bomb attack claimed by a Pakistan-based terror group and culminated in late February with a dogfight between Pakistan's F-16 and India's MiG-21 jets over Kashmir.
On 26 February, the Indian Air Force (IAF) launched an airstrike targeting a suspected terrorist training camp on the Pakistani side of the border in response to a mid-February terrorist attack conducted by a Pakistan-based terrorist group.
The drone was the third Pakistani UAF to be shot down inside India since the 26 February airstrike, according to the military.
On Friday, local police said that an Indian Army soldier had been kidnapped by four unidentified gunmen from his home in Jammu and Kashmir’s Budgam district.
Pakistani Senator Mian Raza Rabbani also said that India and its strategic partners, particularly the US and Israel, are dangerous to the region in the long-run.
Indian opposition leaders have repeatedly questioned the country's bombing raid on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist camp in Pakistan on 26 February, which New Delhi claims killed a "very large number" of militants. The opposition insists that the airstrike was used to boost Prime Minister Narendra Modi's standing.
Speaking during a video conference between Moscow and New Delhi, former diplomats and security experts voiced a unanimous perspective that the normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan would depend highly on the action the latter takes against terror elements operating from its soil.
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