Major airlines suspending flights to Pakistan, India amid rising tensions

Businessmen civil society organisations hold demonstration set on fire the Indian flag and effigy of Modi.— AFP  File

Businessmen civil society organisations hold demonstration set on fire the Indian flag and effigy of Modi.— AFP File

Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said only one Indian pilot is "missing in action" and his government is attempting to determine if Pakistan has him.

"This was not a retaliation in a true sense, but to tell Pakistan has the capability, we can do it, but we want to be responsible, we don't want an escalation, we don't want a war", Pakistani spokesman Maj.

And in Pakistan, MFA said the Civil Aviation Authority has closed its airspace to all commercial flights, and there have been reports of flight cancellations across Pakistan.

Indian air force planes entered Pakistani airspace on Wednesday after Pakistan carried out six airstrikes in Indian-occupied Kashmir, said Major General Asif Ghafoor, a spokesman for the Pakistan armed forces.

News sites in Pakistan have released unconfirmed photos and videos of a downed plane engulfed in flames and of one of the pilots, who appears to have injuries.

"We hope that both India and Pakistan can exercise restraint, take initiatives that are conducive to promoting dialogue, meet halfway and make active efforts for lasting peace and stability in South Asia", Lu said.

The tension between Pakistan and India erupted after Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for the February 14 suicide bombing of a convoy of India's paramilitary forces in the Indian portion of Kashmir that killed 40 Indian troops.

Protesters burn an effigy of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Peshawar, Pakistan. The militant groups are fighting for either Kashmir's independence or its merger with Pakistan.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday morning said he spoke to India's Minister of External Affairs and Pakistan's Foreign Minister. Also, any cross-border attacks were always within Pakistan-administered Kashmir, a disputed territory, and not in Pakistan proper, as was the case with the September 2016 "surgical strike" in response to the Uri army camp attack in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The airlines said on Twitter that flights to cities including Amritsar, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Jammu, Leh and Srinagar have been put on hold or temporarily suspended.

This is the first time in history that two nuclear powers launch air strikes at each other.

She said the limited objective of India's pre-emptive strike inside Pakistan on a terrorist training camp Tuesday was to prevent another terror attack inside India by the Jaish-e-Mohammad extremist group.

"The officers of the Pakistani Army have looked after me well, they are thorough gentlemen", he said.

Three of a family were among those martyred in the Indian firing.

The Indians disputed Pakistan's account, claiming its forces responded defensively to more than a dozen instances of heavy weapons fire from Pakistani forces into Indian territory that wounded five Indian soldiers. "That's not in Pakistan's interest to promote terrorism", Imran Khan said. "Yet, I had still feared that India would [ignore the offer and] still take action, and I had therefore warned India against aggression and said we will be compelled to respond because no sovereign country can allow that [violation of its sovereignty]".

The official said Indian air force jets scrambled and intercepted the Pakistan planes, which then flew back.

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