Pakistan closes airspace amid tension with India

For the past few days, the situation has been escalating between India and Pakistan, prompting the latter to close its airspace.

On February 27, 2019, the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority notified that the country’s airspace was closed, including to commercial flights.

Earlier in the day, the Pakistani army claimed it shot down two planes of the Indian Air Force over the disputed Kashmir region. According to General Asif Ghafoor, two Indian pilots are currently detained, one of them being treated for injuries.

Several incursions of Pakistani Air Force fighter jets into the Indian airspace near the cities of Poonch and Nowshera were also reported by local news agency Press Trust of India. Indian foreign minister stated that both a Pakistani fighter and an Indian MiG-21 were lost during that encounter, as reported by NDTV. While Pakistan claimed it managed to strike military targets, India denied that information, saying the PAF jets were pushed back.

This situation stems from an Indian airstrike that was carried out in the morning of February 26, 2019, against an alleged training camp of the Islamist group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM). The latter had claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb that killed at least forty Indian paramilitaries on February 14, 2019.

Ghafoor announced that the Mirage 2000s of the IAF had “violated the line of control”. which separates the disputed region of Kashmir between India and Pakistan, to carry out this strike inside the Pakistani territory. He denied, however, that the airstrikes had any effect. “No infrastructure got hit, no casualties,“ he said on Twitter.

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