Agencies (Qasioun) - Pakistan carried out airstrikes and shot down two Indian jets on Wednesday, Pakistani officials said, a day after Indian warplanes struck inside Pakistan for the first time since a war in 1971, prompting leading powers to urge both sides to show restraint.
Both countries have ordered airstrikes over the last two days, the first time in history that two nuclear armed powers have done so, while ground forces have exchanged fire in more than a dozen locations.
Tensions have been elevated since a suicide car bombing by Pakistan-based militants in Indian-controlled Kashmir killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police on Feb. 14, but the risk of conflict rose dramatically on Tuesday when India launched an air strike on what it said was a militant training base.
The attack targeted the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), the group that claimed credit for the suicide attack. India said a large number of JeM fighters had been killed, but Pakistani officials said the strike was a failure and inflicted no casualties.
Indian air force planes strayed into Pakistani airspace on Wednesday after Pakistan carried out airstrikes in Indian-occupied Kashmir, said Major General Asif Ghafoor, a spokesman for the Pakistan armed forces.
One of the aircraft fell on India's side of Kashmir, while the second came down in Pakistani-held territory and its pilot was captured, he added.
In a statement, Pakistan's foreign ministry said it had hit a "non-military" target inside Indian-controlled Kashmir, but that it had avoided human loss and collateral damage.
"If India is striking at so called terrorist backers without a shred of evidence, we also retain reciprocal rights to retaliate against elements that enjoy Indian patronage while carrying out acts of terror in Pakistan," the statement said.
A spokesman for India's defense ministry was not immediately available for comment.