India, Pakistan Both Claim to Have Shot Down Each Other’s Jets

International community calls for restraint, fears nuclear exchange

Wars are never desirable, and wars between two nuclear powers are particularly dangerous. Such conflicts are almost unheard of, except where India and Pakistan are concerned, as the rival neighbors have engaged in intermittent skirmishes for generations.

This week seems to be a particularly substantial engagement between the two sides, with India claiming to have killed hundreds in a Monday strike on Pakistani soil, and both sides having subsequently shot down warplanes.

These are all tit-for-tat escalations. India’s first attack was meant to be revenge for a JeM terror attack, though it appears to have failed. Pakistan’s military insisted they had no choice but to respond, and did so. India responded to that, two Indian planes were shot down, and so on.

The Indian planes were shot down in Pakistani airspace. One crashed on Indian soil, and the other in Pakistan, where the pilot was captured. Though Pakistan insists the pilot is being treated well, India accused them of violating the Geneva Conventions for even showing video of him drinking tea.

But while the international community counsels restraint, and Pakistan’s civilian leader offers talks, the militaries seem for now to be locked into a spiral of escalation. Such seemingly unbreakable spirals are a major concern, but the history of India and Pakistan getting into such problems and managing to extricate themselves without a nuclear war does raise hope that cooler heads will ultimately prevail.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.