Trump says expect ‘reasonably attractive news’ over India and Pakistan clash

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman to be released on Friday, film fraternity celebrates the announcement

Pakistan says it will release captured Indian pilot Friday as a 'peace gesture'

He did not elaborate. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World. "It is good for both sides".

The government closed it Wednesday after Pakistan said its military had shot down two Indian warplanes and captured a pilot, escalating tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Islamabad has prolonged the closure of its airspace until March 1 after two days of military exchanges between India and Pakistan in the contested Kashmir region, leaving thousands of people stranded at airports. The capture of the pilot, identified by Indian media as Abhinandan Varthaman, added another volatile element to an already unsafe situation. Lt. Col. Devender Anand, an Indian army spokesman, called it an "unprovoked" violation of the 2003 cease-fire accord between the two countries.

Responding to this, Pakistan then retaliated with their own air raid, pushing India to send more aircraft into their neighbor's airspace, culminating in two jets reportedly being shot down yesterday. The attack escalated tension between India and Pakistan to an extent that prompted the archrivals to deploy troops along their border.

Imran Khan, the prime minister, told parliament that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman would be returned to India today after his aircraft was shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani jets over the line of control in Kashmir on Wednesday.

Indian and Pakistani fighter planes fought a brief skirmish Wednesday over Kashmir.

Pakistani Kashmiri residents evacuate from the border town of Chakothi in Pakistan administered Kashmir
Pakistani Kashmiri residents evacuate from the border town of Chakothi in Pakistan administered Kashmir

Pakistan denies this, saying the attack was a failure and no one died, with bombs dropped on a largely empty hillside.

While no assurance was given by India on how military tensions would be scaled down, officials reiterated that the targets of Indian action are terror camps and training facilities and that it sees its Balakot action as a "non-military" strike.

In New Delhi, officials from India's three military branches summoned journalists to an outdoor news conference at which they displayed shards of metal they said were fragments of US -made air-to-air missiles that Pakistani jets fired inside India. "Pakistan is ready to de-escalate the situation".

Citing figures compiled by the Institute for global and Strategic Studies, Al Jazeera reported Thursday that India had 3,565 battle tanks, 3,100 infantry fighting vehicles, 336 armored personnel carriers and 9,719 pieces of artillery against Pakistan's 2,496 tanks, 1,605 armored personnel carriers, and 4,472 artillery guns, including 375 self-propelled howitzers. He said no casualties involving soldiers were reported so far in fighting since Wednesday night.

"Pakistan, being the weaker country, will be on the receiving end". That was rejected outright by New Delhi.

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.

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