Amidst ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan all three defence services of the country, Indian Army, Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy will address a joint press conference today in New Delhi at 1700 hrs (5 pm IST). The spokesperson from the Ministry of External Affairs will also join this conference.
This joint press conference is expected to give clarity on the Indian Air Force pilot that has been taken as a prisoner of war (POW) by Pakistan. The IAF pilot was involved in a dogfight with Pakistani F-16 when it had intruded Indian airspace on Wednesday morning. The IAF pilot shot down Pakistan’s F-16 before his plane was hit. He had to eject and landed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and had since been in Pak Army’s custody.
Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi will chair a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) later in the evening today, which will be followed by Union Cabinet meeting at his residence.
Pakistan has expressed its unhappiness over India’s invitation to attend the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). It is yet not clear if Pak’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will attend the OIC meeting after he threatened to boycott the meet over invitation to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has put a condition to return Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot— Wing Commander Abhinandan only if India helps ease the conflict. “We are willing to return the captured Indian pilot if it leads to de-escalation,” he was quoted as saying. He also said the Saudi foreign minister was expected to visit Pakistan with a special message from Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who visited both Pakistan and India earlier this month.
Sources within Indian government have said that India has not asked for any consular access to Abhinandan. “The IAF pilot has to be repatriated unconditionally and immediately, there is no question of any deal,” the Press Trust of India said.
United States President Donald Trump said earlier today that there would be some “reasonably decent news” on the conflict between India and Pakistan. “They have been going at it and we have been involved in trying to have them stop,” Trump said. “We have been in the middle trying to help them both out.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan has shut its airspace, forcing all commercial airlines to re-plan their aerial routes. Thai Airways International said that it has cancelled all flights to Pakistan and Europe that has left thousands of passengers stranded in Bangkok.
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