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India loses a Mig, pilot missing in action; Pakistan says he in their custody

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Hours after Pakistan claimed to have shot down two Indian Air Force jets and captured two pilots, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) confirmed that an Indian pilot is missing in action after a MiG-21 Bison fighter plane was lost while engaging with Pakistani jets which violated Indian airspace in the morning today (Wednesday, Feb 27).

Pakistan military claimed to have captured two Indian pilots, saying one of them was in hospital.

MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar confirmed there was an air to air engagement between the Indian and Pakistani air forces early Wednesday morning.

“India had informed about Counter Terrorism (CT) action it took yesterday against a training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Pakistan based on credible evidence that JeM intended to launch more attacks. Against this Counter Terrorism Action, Pakistan has responded this morning by using its Air Force to target military installations on the Indian side. Due to our high state of readiness and alertness, Pak’s attempts were foiled successfully,” said Kumar.

“The Pakistan Air Force was detected and the Indian Air Force responded instantly. In that aerial engagement, one Pakistan Air Force fighter aircraft was shot down by a MiG 21 Bison of the Indian Air Force.”

Also Read: Imran Khan warns against escalation, invites PM Modi for talks; India, China, Russia condemn terrorism

“The Pakistani aircraft was seen by ground forces falling from the sky on Pak side. In this engagement, we have unfortunately lost one MiG 21. The pilot is missing in action. Pak has claimed that he is in their custody. We are ascertaining the facts,” added the spokesperson.

Reports said the Pakistani military has a MiG 21 pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman under custody.

The MEA spokesperson did not take any question from the media. Pakistan has not yet informed India about the missing Indian pilot through official channels.

Earlier in the day, the Pakistan Army released a video in which an IAF pilot is seen identifying himself as Wing Commander Abhinandan.

India had today shot down a Pakistani F-16 jet that violated the Indian air space in retaliatory fire 3 km within Pakistan territory in Lam valley, Nowshera sector. A parachute was reportedly seen when the Pakistani jet went down but the fate of the pilot is unknown.

Pakistan had claimed to have entered the Indian airspace and dropped bombs. Senior government officials said there were no reports of any casualty.

Pakistani jets were reported to have crossed over to the Indian side of LoC in Rajauri-Naushera sector around 10 AM and dropped some bombs which, however, missed the targets which, said a report in The Indian Express, seemed to be an ammunition point, a supply point, a brigade headquarters and a battalion headquarters in the area.

Also Read: Indian Air Force repulses Pakistani jets, shoots down F16; says all IAF jets and pilots safe

An IAF combat air patrol (CAP) of Mig29 aircraft was immediately put up in the air to engage the Pakistani aircraft in the air. Two Mig29 aircraft were claimed to have been shot down by Pakistan, with one wreckage falling on the Indian side and the other on the Pakistani side of LoC. PTI has reported that a Pakistani F16 was shot down in the engagement.

Pakistan Foreign Ministry issued a statement after this. But, while India said it struck the Jaish-e-Mohammad at one of its training facilities on Tuesday, there are no such targets – no terrorist training camps – on the Indian side for Pakistan to hit.

Its foreign ministry, therefore, said the “sole purpose” of its air action today was “to demonstrate our right, will and capability for self defence.”

Also Read: IAF chopper crashes in J&K’s Budgam, two pilots dead

In its statement, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said: “This was not retaliation to continued Indian belligerence. Pakistan has, therefore, taken strikes at a non-military target, avoiding human loss and collateral damage. Sole purpose being to demonstrate our right, will and capability for self-defence. We have no intention of escalation, but are fully prepared to do so if forced into that paradigm. That is why we undertook the action with clear warning and in broad daylight.”

“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. We do not wish to go to that route and wish that India gives peace a chance and to resolve issues like a mature democratic nation,” Pakistan’s statement said, reported The Dawn.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Book reviews

The Hill Of Enchantment Review: Ruskin Bond revisits his life as writer

The book not only delineates Ruskin Bond’s journey as a writer but also depicts the changing literary landscape from the 1950s to recent times.

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The Hill Of Enchantment Review: Ruskin Bond revisits his life as writer

India’s most loved and prolific writer from the hill, who wrote his first book when he was around 17, Ruskin Bond, turned 90 this year. In his seven decade literary journey, the author has written more than 500 novels, short stories, and poems set mostly in the hills and mountains of India. 

The Hill Of Enchantment published by Aleph Book Company, is a memoir of his writing journey, with the subtitle, the story of my life as a writer. Bond revisits the people, mountains, railway stations, rooms, and markets that shaped him as an author. He says, characters in his novels and short stories are mostly inspired by the people he met in his life. The author confesses that some characters also portray his adopted family, friends and colleagues. 

Expressing that if a writer wishes to create a little magic with his pen he must find a little magic in his life, Ruskin Bond shares that he only has to open his window to see a magical world – clouds racing across the sky. In the book, the author mentioned how Pari Tibba, Fairy Hill, which he could see from his window, and solitude has influenced his books.

In The Hill of Enchantment, Ruskin Bond pens about how his need for privacy and solitude have inspired his first work, The Room on the Roof, published in 1956. He also portrayed how his frequent visits to a railway station led to the story, Time Stops At Shamli and others. Sharing an anecdote, Bond wrote that his frequent visits to railway stations made him so popular, just like a coolie, he did not have to buy a platform ticket to sit at the railway station.

The book also highlights the ordeal of Indian writers in the days dating back to 1950s to get published as compared to modern writers. It pointed out the change in the literary scene in the twenty-first century, which brought literary festivals along with online forums for writers and publishers. The author says, “writers were becoming faces and mini celebrities”. 

Ruskin Bond’s book not only delineates his journey as a writer but also stresses on the changing literary landscape from 1950s to recent times. The book is an utter testament for the aspiring writers. 

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Amit Shah claims NDA has already got 310 seats after 5 phases of Lok Sabha elections

Shah was addressing 2 election rallies in Sambalpur where the BJP has fielded Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

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Amit Shah claims NDA has already got 310 seats after 5 phases of Lok Sabha elections

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday claimed that the NDA has already bagged 310 seats after the completion of 5 phases of the Lok Sabha polls. He urged the people of Odisha to free the state from babu-raj and allow the BJP to form government at the Centre and also in the state.  Shah was addressing 2 election rallies in Sambalpur where the BJP has fielded Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

Shah claimed after the 5th phase of elections, the NDA has already got 310 seats and they will secure 400 plus seats after the 6th and 7th rounds of elections. The union home minister added that Odisha has been ruled by a handful of officers and this election will end the ongoing babu raj in the state.

He said that the tribals of Keonjhar get no benefit even though most of the mines and mineral reserves of the country are located in Keonjhar district. Shah enlisted Modi government’s achievements and said that the prime minister has ensured that there is no terrorism across the country. He added that PoK (Pakistan occupied Kashmir) was with India and it would remain with India.

Shah criticized Congress of being frightened over Pakistan possessing an atom bomb and said PM Modi has given a befitting reply to Pakistan’s terror activities and he does not fear such threat of nuclear bombs. He attacked the previous Congress government for doing nothing for tribals. Shah pointed out that former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee had formed a separate ministry for tribal affairs while Narendra Modi as the PM has worked to eliminate Naxalism in Odisha, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

The Union Home Minister said PM Modi has constituted District Mineral Foundation and given crores of rupees for the development of the tribal region. Shah said the budgetary allocation for tribal affairs has been increased to Rs 1.25 lakh crore during Modi government from Rs 25,000 crore given during the previous UPA regime.

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2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Congress accuses PM Modi of communal campaigning, questions his silence on key issues like caste census, reservations

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh’s attack came over Modi’s remarks in an interview to the media in which he had said that he has never uttered a word against minorities, and the BJP has not just today but never acted against them.

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Congress accuses PM Modi of communal campaigning, questions his silence on key issues like caste census, reservations

The Congress on Tuesday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been indulging in polarisation throughout the election and has prepared a communal pitch, but Congress refused to play on that and pursued its paach nyay agenda. Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh’s attack came over Modi’s remarks in an interview to the media in which he had said that he has never uttered a word against minorities, and the BJP has not just today but never acted against them.

Jairam Ramesh said that PM Modi’s entire campaign from April 19 has been based on communalisation with the Hindu-Muslim rhetoric throughout and has not talked about Viksit Bharat, issues of the farmers, Modi ki guarantee, women, youth workers, SCs, STs and OBCs.

Speaking about the remarks made by PM Modi on minorities, Ramesh said what nonsense was he talking about?  He further added the prime minister is fast losing his memory and he has never had any adherence to truth. Ramesh called PM Modi a jhoothjeevi and said PM Modi does not remember what he said the day before and then claims that he never said it.

Ramesh said the prime minister had raised the issue of Muslim League imprint on the Congress manifesto, the mangalsutra remarks and the allegation that the Congress will give reservations on the basis of religion, which are all bogus statements.

He said this is the prime minister who, when asked some years ago whether he had any remorse at the killings during the Gujarat riots, said even when a small puppy comes under a car, one feels bad. This is the language that he had been using. Ramesh claimed that when Atal Bihari Vajapayee became the prime minister, L K Advani and company wanted a committee to review the basic structure of the Constitution. Ramesh said Congress boycotted that commission and this has always been the objective of the BJP and the RSS.

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