Air Canada suspends service to India as tensions with Pakistan mount

India's Border Security Force soldiers patrol along the fenced border with Pakistan in Ranbir Singh Pura sector near Jammu

Pakistan's foreign ministry on Wednesday said strikes were carried out against a "non-military target" to avoid loss of life and demonstrate Pakistan's right and ability to defend itself.

"In a tweet, Dr. Mohammad Faisal, spokesman of the MoFA, wrote: "#Pakistanstrikesback #PAF undertook strikes across LoC from Pakistani airspace.

The family of Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman who is in Pakistan's custody has demanded their son be brought back as soon as possible in an interview to The Hindu. "The kind of weapons you have and we have, can we afford to go for a war?"

It said strikes had been taken at non-military targets avoiding civilian casualties.

Residents on both sides of the de-facto frontier, the so-called Line of Control, said there were exchanges of fire between the two sides through the night into Wednesday morning.

"We can do everything but do not want to escalate or go into the war", he said, adding: "No issue could resolve through war, dialogue is always the way to resolve issue and Pakistan is following that way".

Swaraj, who is in China to attend the Russia-India-China (RIC) foreign ministers' meet, made a strong statement against Pakistan and its refusal to act against terrorist groups on its soil.

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Varthaman's aircraft, the MiG-21 was shot down by Pakistan on Wednesday morning, following which he was captured by the Pakistan armed forces. One of the aircraft fell inside Azad Jammu &Kashmir, while the other fell inside Indian Occupied Kashmir. A dossier was handed over to Pakistan side with specific details of Jaish-e-Mohammed complicity in Pulwama terror attack and the presence of Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps and its leadership in Pakistan.

After Indian objected to Pakistan's vulgar display and said that it expected the pilot to be released immediately, another video showing the pilot sipping tea was released. Pakistan denied any link to the attack and Prime Minister Imran Khan pledged to investigate if India presented credible evidence of Pakistani involvement. "Our action is just to let them know that just like they intruded into our territory, we are also capable of going into their territory", he said, according to the BBC.

"PAF shot down two Indian aircrafts inside Pakistani airspace".

Modi has yet to react but was meeting top security and intelligence officials to discuss the situation, reports in India said. The region is split between Pakistan and India and claimed by both in its entirety.

Meanwhile, Air Canada has temporarily suspended its flight services to India, after Pakistan's decision to shut its airspace.

Tensions have been growing between the nuclear-armed neighbors and rivals since 40 Indian paramilitary forces were killed by a suicide auto bomb in Indian Kashmir on February 14.

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