Pakistan says 2 Indian warplanes downed, 1 pilot captured

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

However, what sets this round of escalation apart is that this is the first time since the 1971 Indo-Pakistani war that the two countries attack targets deep within each other's territories. Many videos have emerged on social media, mostly put out by Pakistani journalists, influencers and other civilians.

India shot down a Pakistani fighter jet after two of its own aircraft were downed by their neighbors amid escalation in Kashmir on February 27, local media reports said. It also says to avoid all travel within 10 kilometres of the country's border with Pakistan in the states of Gujarat, Punjab and Rajastan.

Pakistan has promised to retaliate to Tuesday's air strikes, and security across India has been tightened. Ghafoor said that man was under treatment at the Combined Military Hospital.

China is one of Pakistan's closest allies.

Meanwhile, civil administrator Baseer Khan confirmed that the airport in Srinagar, the main city in Indian-controlled Kashmir, was closed and said it was a "temporary and precautionary measure". "As two important countries in south Asia we hope that the two countries can exercise restraint and engage in dialogue and take actions for the peace and stability in the region", he said. One side wants to create a new military normal, and the other side wants to desperately avoid that.

Pakistan does "not want to go towards war" with India, its military spokesman said Wednesday, hours after Islamabad said it shot down two Indian warplanes in its airspace, igniting fears of an all-out conflict between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

India has been on high alert since Tuesday's strikes, an operation Islamabad promised to repay with its own "surprise" attack.

JeM was founded by Pakistani Muslim cleric Masood Azhar in 2000 and has been blamed by New Delhi for terrorist attacks on the territory of India since 2001. But accounts diverge from there.

India's attack on Tuesday targeted the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), the group that claimed credit for the suicide attack. Pakistan said it has already evacuated thousands of civilians from the border area, leaving behind only those civilians with ready access to concrete bunkers.

Both countries mounted media blitzes to push their particular narrative but had appeared to leave room to de-escalate the conflict.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan said his country had offered to "cooperate" with India following the February 14 attack. Critically, New Delhi underscored that the targets were "non-military"-that it wasn't looking to start a war".

"The feeling in India after being struck every single year and month with terrorism is 'enough is enough, '" he said.

That retaliation was immediately celebrated in India, where it was seen as a show of muscular resolve-a message that New Delhi wouldn't simply allow Pakistan's tolerance and covert encouragement of the non-state groups to go unpunished.

The joint session of Parliament has been called today (Wednesday) to discuss the tension with India and formulate a national response.

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