Hours after Pakistan's airspace violation in Jammu and Kashmir, India has confirmed that an Indian Air Force pilot is 'missing in action.' In a brief press conference addressed by Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, it was also established that a MiG-21 was lost in the aerial retaliation. Amid reports about a Wing Commander in Pakistan's captivity, Kumar said that the facts are being ascertained.
"One Pakistan Air Force fighter aircraft was shot down by Indian Air Force. In this engagement, we have lost one MiG 21. Pilot is missing in action. Pakistan claims he is in their custody. We are ascertaining the facts," Kumar said in a short statement. Earlier reports had said that the Indian Air Force pilot of the Mig-21 Bison has not returned after usual sortie. An unverified video has gone viral in which the air force pilot is seen telling his name, his batch number to the Pakistani captors. There has been no official confirmation either from the government or the Indian Air Force. News Nation can't independently verify the authenticity of the video, which has been shared widely by many media outlets in Pakistan.
If this is proven correct, it would be the second time that an Indian Air Force pilot was held in Pakistan's captivity. During the Kargil War in 1999, Kambampati Nachiketa was a 26-year-old fighter pilot assigned the task of hitting Pakistani posts in Kargil. On that fateful day, Nachiketa, then a flight lieutenant, took off in a 'Hayena' formation led by Sqn Ldr A Mandhokot to bomb enemy positions with 80 mm canons. Flying Mig-27, he ejected from the bomber but fell into the Pakistan territory. But after an intense diplomatic tussle, Nachiketa survived the torture of Pakistanis as a Prisoner of War (PoW), returned to India, got the Vayusena medal, and kept doing what he does best - flying planes for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
"I then eased out of the dive, but felt a backward jerk due to sudden deceleration. The speed dropped to 500 kmph and realised the engine had flamed out. I immediately jettisoned the rocket pods and attempted a relight. Informing my leader Sqn Ldr Mandhokot, I further lowered the altitude to maintain the speed which had fallen to 450 kmph," the decorated pilot had said in a 2008 interview. "It is an experience which is difficult to be described in words. Sometimes I felt that death would have been a bettersolution," he had added.
Earlier in the day, there were reports that four Pakistan Air Force jet violated Indian airspace in Jammu and Kashmir’s Nowshera sector. In the brute retaliation, the Indian Air Force had shot down PAF F-16 fighter plane.