India refuses to negotiate over fate of captured pilot, official says

The Pakistani government was ready to consider returning the captured Indian pilot if that helped defuse tension, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.
The Pakistani government was ready to consider returning the captured Indian pilot if that helped defuse tension, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI (BLOOMBERG) - India will not negotiate or talk with Pakistan over the fate of a captured air force pilot, an Indian official said in New Delhi.

This comes as Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on GEO television channel on Thursday (Feb 28) that Prime Minister Imran Khan is ready to talk to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi over the phone. He added that the government was ready to consider returning the captured Indian pilot if that helps defuse tension.

Pakistan arrested the Indian pilot after aircraft from the two nations clashed in the disputed region of Kashmir in the worst military stand-off in decades.

The Indian official, who did not want to be identified, said that the country needs credible and verifiable action from Pakistan that it has targeted terrorist groups operating on its soil.

INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE

India's statement comes as the United States urged India and Pakistan to refrain from further military action as international pressure builds on the long-standing rivals to de-escalate the most serious flare-up in decades that has seen fighter jets from both nations shot down.

"The potential risks associated with further military action by either side are unacceptably high for both countries, their neighbours, and the international community," said a White House National Security Council official, who spoke condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the matter.

 
 

A day before Pakistan down the Indian jet, the Indian Air Force said its jets launched air strikes against terrorists inside Pakistan.

The target was a camp run by Jaish-e-Mohammed, the terror group which claimed responsibility for a Feb 14 suicide car bombing in Kashmir that killed 40 members of India's security forces.