8 killed in India-Pakistan fighting amid high tensions

8 killed in India-Pakistan fighting amid high tensions

Pakistan's military said on Saturday its air force and navy "continue to be alert and vigilant", while two of its soldiers were killed after exchanging fire with Indian troops along the Line of Control. On the Indian side, a woman and her two children died after their house was pulverised by a mortar shell.

Across the region villagers huddled in makeshift bunkers while police ordered non-essential traffic off roads, an AFP reporter said.

Pakistani officials brought a captured Indian pilot to a border crossing with India to be handed over, while the country's civil aviation authority partially re-opened its airspace on Friday.

They said this gesture would establish that Pakistan was a peace loving country and wanted peace with its neighbouring countries especially India.

The Pakistani military has said it shot down Varthaman's MiG-21 fighter jet on the Pakistani-held side of Kashmir on Wednesday and that the pilot safely ejected.

Hostilities escalated rapidly following a suicide auto bombing on February 14 that killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police in Indian-controlled Kashmir. We all are so proud of Abhinandan and what he has done for the country.

Pakistan later aired a video of a man it identified as the Indian pilot.

"There is no such offer to mediate but even if there was one, India would never accept it, " said a source.

"That high moral ground you had bequeathed to yourselves slipped at the end".

A day earlier Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a phone conversation with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj that he hoped tensions could be de-escalated and that both countries would show restraint.

"In the aerial combat that ensued one F-16 of PAF was shot down by an IAF MiG-21 Bison [fighter aircraft]". The deal has been embroiled in corruption allegations levelled by the opposition Congress party.

"The world takes note of what India does". Pakistan denies the charge, saying it provides moral and diplomatic support to Kashmiris fighting for right to self-determination.

Qureshi also said a top Saudi diplomat would soon visit Pakistan and India.

Pakistan, however, released the captured pilot on Friday as a "gesture of peace".

Pakistan's foreign affairs minister has appeared to admit that his government is in contact with Jaish-e-Mohammed, the terrorist group that claimed responsibility for the killing of 40 Indian troops in a suicide bombing in the disputed region of Kashmir two weeks ago.

Talking to BBC Urdu, the minister said Islamabad intends to move against extremist elements and it would not allow non-state actors to put the regional peace at stake.

The rivals have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since their independence from British rule in 1947.

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