India and Pakistan are on the brink of a major confrontation after Pakistan claimed to have shot down two Indian fighter jets in response to New Delhi’s bombing of alleged “terror” targets inside Pakistan.
Tensions have risen since a suicide car bombing by Pakistan-based armed group, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), in Indian-administered Kashmir killed at least 42 Indian paramilitary forces on February 14.
But the risk of an all-out conflict rose dramatically on Tuesday when India launched an air strikes on what it said was a JeM training base.
On Wednesday morning, New Delhi and Islamabad were engaged in a battle of conflicting military claims.
At least four Pakistani civilians were killed on Wednesday in cross-border fire between the two nuclear-armed South Asian rivals.
Here are all the latest updates as of Tuesday, February 27:
Pakistan claims it has captured three Indian pilots
Pakistan’s military says three Indian pilots are captured after their planes are shot down over Pakistani airspace. India denies the claim, saying all its pilots are accounted for, according to local media.
Airports in several Indian cities shut, Lahore airport cancels and delays flights
Indian news reports say that airports in the Indian portion of Kashmir have been closed for civilian traffic shortly after an Indian air force jet crashed in the area.
The Press Trust of India news agency says these airports are located at Srinagar, Jammu and Leh. Indian authorities declined to comment.
There are reports that several airports in Pakistan are also shut, but Pakistan’s civil aviation authority says it cannot confirm that at this time. However, the website for the international airport in the eastern city of Lahore appears to show a suspension of flights departing the city.
China reiterates call for restraint
China’s Foreign Ministry reiterats its call for India and Pakistan to exercise restraint. Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang made the comment at a regular news briefing in Beijing.
Pakistani warplanes enter Indian airspace, forced back: Indian official
Indian airforce jets intercepted at least three Pakistan warplanes that crossed into the Indian-administered Kashmir on Wednesday and forced them to turn tail, an Indian official said, amid heightened tensions following an Indian airstrike that targeted a rebel camp inside Pakistan a day earlier.
The Pakistani jets intruded over the Bimber Gali- Noushera sector at the Line of Control, a ceasefire line that serves as the de facto border in the disputed Kashmir region, the official, who is based in the area, said.
The main airport in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir state, had been shut down for three hours, police in the city said.