The United States welcomes Pakistan’s decision to repatriate an Indian pilot it captured after shooting down his fighter jet this week, a State Department spokesperson said.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Islamabad would hand over to India on Friday one of the two Indian pilots arrested by the Pakistani Army following the aerial incident over the disputed Kashmir region.
“We welcome Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s commitment that Pakistan will release on Friday the indian pilot held in its custody,” the official said on Thursday.
Furthermore, the spokesperson said the United States urges Pakistan and India to take immediate action to de-escalate the conflict including through direct communication.
The United States calls on Pakistan to abide by the UN Security Council commitments to deny terrorists safe have in their country and to block their access to funds, the official said.
The Pakistani military said on Wednesday it had shot down two Indian warplanes in the disputed region of Kashmir, responding to an airstrike a day earlier by Indian aircraft against what New Delhi said was a camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad, considered a terrorist group by India, and located on the Pakistani soil across the so-called Line of Control.
The Indian airstrike came after a deadly attack by Jaish-e-Mohammad on the Indian paramilitary police force in Kashmir earlier this month. While India has accused Pakistan of supporting the militants and having a “direct hand” in the incident, Pakistan, in turn, has rejected the allegations, accusing India of being responsible for human rights violations taking place in Kashmir.
Jammu and Kashmir is a region that has been disputed by India and Pakistan since 1947 when both countries gained independence from the British Empire. The two countries have gone through three wars over the region, but the conflict has not been resolved.