India expects immediate release of Wing Commander Abhinandan Vartaman, government sources said on Thursday, rubbishing any suggestion of a deal over him. India has not asked for consular access, sources said, warning Pakistan that the pilot was no card to negotiate with. India wants him to be treated in a humane manner, sources said.
Geo News had earlier quoted Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi as stating that the pilot would be returned if that meant de-escalation of tension between the two countries.”We are willing to return the captured Indian pilot if it leads to de-escalation and peace,” he added. “We are ready for all positive engagement,: Geo News quoted Qureshi as saying.
Indian Defence Ministry officials told ANI that the government believes the Pakistan air intrusion was an attack on military installations. “We believe the Indian Air Force pilot was ill treated by the Pakistan Army in violation of the Geneva convention,’ ANI quoted them as saying.
Qureshi also told Geo News that India had handed over a dossier to the acting High Commissioner of Pakistan a day earlier. “I will evaluate the dossier with an open heart and then see if talks will be held on that,” he said.
“I wish the dossier was sent earlier,” the foreign minister stated. Sources said India didn’t consider giving actionable intel earlier as Pakistan has never acted in past on actionable inputs on Mumbai and Pathankot attacks.
“Terrorists were caught, audio given, access given to forward posts in Pathankot. Pakistan remained in denial. Thirteen days after Pulwama, they still deny Jaish-e-Mohammed role,” sources said.
We believe the Pakistan Army is actively supporting the Jaish-e-Mohammed and is harbouring its leaders including Masood Azhar in its facilities, sources added. “We are ready for talks on Kartarpur. They (Pakistan) had called it off just as they had closed airspace and stopped Samjhauta Express. We are trying to appear reasonable, they are creating a war hysteria,” sources told ANI, adding: “Pakistan has lied to the international community on Jaish-e-Mohammed, about two pilots in custody. They lied on Indian ships approaching, they have lied on missile strikes.”
Pakistan must first take concrete and specific anti-terror steps, government sources said when asked about talks with Paqkistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. “Imran has to walk the talk on investigating the Pulwama attack,” sources told PTI.
“Why did Pak PM say two Indian jets were downed? Was he not briefed or did he say an untruth,” govt sources told PTI. Pakistan Air Force specifically targeted Indian military facilities while we targeted only JeM terror camp, the sources said. The sources added that India was waiting for immediate, credible and verifiable action against terrorists and their proxies.
On being asked if he is open to meeting Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on sidelines of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation(OIC) meet, Pakistan Foreign Minister Qureshi said he would not hesitate to meet but OIC was not the forum for talks with Swaraj.
US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he hoped the conflict between India and Pakistan will be coming to an end, after the two nuclear powers clashed across a contested border in the disputed Kashmir region.
Speaking at a news conference in Vietnam after a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump said he had some “reasonably decent” news from India and Pakistan. He did not elaborate. Meanwhile, Pakistan and India continued to exchange fire along the Line of Control on Thursday. Pakistan fired at 6 am and stopped after an hour.
Cross-LoC shelling and firing resumed in Krishna Ghathi sector of Poonch in the afternoon. The Army said Pakistani troops again resorted to unprovoked firing and shelling at 1 pm and that the Indian troops were responding to it “strongly and befittingly”.