Pakistan shot down two Indian fighter jets over Pakistan-controlled Kashmir and arrested one of the pilots, after Pakistani jets had launched airstrikes into the Indian-administered part of the contested mountain region, Pakistani military spokesman Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor said Wednesday. The other Indian jet crashed on the Indian side of the Line of Control, Ghafoor said. India denied the report, saying all its pilots and planes are accounted for, BBC News reports, though Indian police said an Indian Air Force plane did crash on the Indian side of the border. India claims it has shot down a Pakistani F-16.
The air battles, the first between the two nuclear-armed neighbors since 1971, follow a day of cross-border shelling and arms fire along the Line of Control, and Indian pre-dawn airstrikes on Tuesday. India says those strikes hit a terrorist training camp for the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), killing several militants and commanders; Pakistan says the strikes hit nothing and killed nobody. The latest tensions in Kashmir began with a Feb. 14 JeM suicide-bomb attack that killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police. The U.S., China, and the European Union have urged India and Pakistan to de-escalate the situation and exercise restraint.
India says the ground skirmishes on Tuesday and Wednesday have left five Indian soldiers wounded and five Pakistani military posts destroyed, with casualties. Pakistan says Indian shelling has killed up to six civilians. India and Pakistan have closed civilian airports in the region and stock markets in both countries are down.