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Commercial flights to and from Pakistan, India disrupted as tensions rise

01 March 2019

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) tweeted that it "has officially closed its airspace until further notice", while a Pakistani military spokesman said the decision had been taken "due to the environment".

Etihad, flydubai, Gulf Air and SriLankan Airlines also suspended services to the country and flight tracking portals showed Singapore Airlines, British Airways and others were forced to reroute flights.

"India should not carry any further violence in Pakistan because its continuation will affect regional security also the continuation of such conflict will cost a lot for India", Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement. The shells hit the village of Kotli in Pakistan's section of Kashmir.

Pakistan said it had captured two Indian pilots, with one in hospital. PAF shot down two Indian Aircrafts inside Pakistani airspace.

"Original targets were military posts and administrative facilities but we did not target those", he said.

He acknowledged that despite a 2003 ceasefire between India and Pakistan, there have been repeated deadly skirmishes between the two countries along the line of control.

India's foreign ministry demanded the "immediate and safe return" of the pilot, calling on Pakistan to ensure no harm comes to him.

One of the aircraft fell on India's side of Kashmir, while the second came down in Pakistani-held territory and its pilot was captured, he added.

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Both countries stake claims to Kashmir, which has a muslim majority, but each country only owns part of the region. The MEA also stated that the IAF managed to shoot down one Pakistan fighter jet. "As a result both the Indian planes were shot down and the wreckage of one fell on our side while the wreckage of the other fell on their side", he said. "The Pakistani aircraft was seen by ground forces falling from the sky on the Pakistan side".

Residents on both sides of the de-facto frontier, the so-called Line of Control, said there were exchanges of fire between the two sides through the night into Wednesday morning.

In a significant gain for India in its push to isolate Pakistan internationally on the issue of terrorism post-Pulwama attack, China and Russian Federation on Wednesday agreed for a closer policy coordination to eradicate the "breeding grounds of terrorism". At least six airports were shuttered in India, and a vast area of airspace north of New Delhi was closed to civilian flights. An Indian military statement said that "out of anger and frustration", Pakistan initiated an "unprovoked cease-fire violation". It accused Pakistani soldiers of firing mortars and missiles "from civilian houses, using villagers as human shields".

On Wednesday, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told state-run Pakistan Television he was in touch with his counterparts across the world about the "Indian aggression", adding that New Delhi had endangered peace in the region by Tuesday's airstrike on Pakistan.

The Indian Air Force said it would continue to target terrorist camps in Pakistan, maintaining the government's position that Islamabad is sponsoring terrorist groups.

She said the limited objective of India's pre-emptive strike inside Pakistan on a terrorist training camp Tuesday was to act decisively against the terrorist infrastructure of Jaish-e-Mohammad group, to pre-empt another terror attack in India. Tensions have been running high since at least 40 Indian paramilitary police died in a February 14 suicide vehicle bombing by Pakistan-based militants in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

"After the Pulwama attack we offered India that we are ready for any type of investigation".

Commercial flights to and from Pakistan, India disrupted as tensions rise