India ready to respond to any provocation from Pakistan, Indian Military Chiefs in a low tone

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India ready to respond to any provocation from Pakistan, Indian Military Chiefs in a low tone

NEW DELHI: Indian forces remain on a “heightened” state of alert despite Pakistan’s efforts to escalate tensions and announcement to free a captured pilot, top Indian military chiefs said on Thursday.

Top generals from the Indian air force, army and navy also renewed claims that India had shot down a Pakistani F-16 jet.

“We are fully prepared and in a heightened state of readiness to respond to any provocation from Pakistan,” said Indian Army’s Major General Surendra Singh Mahal at a press conference.

He said ground-based air defence weapons had been “put on high alert” along the Line of Control.

The top military officials also unveiled fragments from a missile they claimed matched the Pakistani F-16 fighter jet that purportedly crossed into Indian airspace and was ‘shot down’.

Pakistan has denied New Delhi’s assertions that one of its fighters was downed during a dogfight that also saw an Indian plane lost.

The pilot of that jet, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, managed to eject but was apprehended by Pakistan Army and taken into custody.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said authorities would release him as a “peace gesture”.

But India’s Air Vice Marshall RGK Kapoor said the decision to free the pilot, though welcome, simply followed international norms around prisoners of war.

“We are extremely happy to have him back. We want to see him back,” he told reporters. “We only see it as a gesture which is in consonance with all Geneva conventions.” - APP/AFP