How India and Pakistan compare militarily

Passengers seen with their luggage outside the airport

Following the suicide bombing two weeks ago that killed more than 40 Indian troops and was claimed by a Pakistan-based Sunni Muslim militant group, the Indian air force on Tuesday conducted strikes on what it said were jihadi camps across the contested Line of Control on the Kashmir border region.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan says he will release captured Indian pilot on Friday as a gesture of peace. Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured yesterday after an aerial combat between Indian and Pakistani fighter planes.

World powers have been watching the situation in Asia unfold with unease and called for de-escalation after a February 14 suicide bombing killed over 40 Indian paramilitary troops in Kashmir in the territory it controls.

India's army says Pakistani soldiers are targeting almost two dozen Indian forward points with mortar and gunfire.

Khan also said he had feared Wednesday night that India might launch a missile attack, but the situation was later defused.

Pakistan shot down the pilot's jet on Wednesday, as tensions rose with India over the disputed region of Kashmir.

"That completely overlooks the past when India and Pakistan have found ways to manage escalation".

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The tension between India and Pakistan that led to both sides flexing their military muscles this week was triggered by a terror attack claimed by a US -designated terror group based in Pakistan.

In a video message released in 2014, Azhar claimed he had more than 300 suicide bombers at his behest who could attack India if Narendra Modi were to become India's prime minister. India, the world's second-largest population, also outnumbers Pakistan in terms of manpower with 2,798,800 military and paramilitary forces versus 935,800. "India will grow as one", he said, speaking in English, a rare occurrence.

"Pakistan wants peace, but it should not be treated as our weakness", Khan said "The region will prosper if there is peace and stability".

Earlier in the day in Hanoi, President Donald Trump had addressed the tensions and had hinted at "some reasonably decent news" regarding Indian and Pakistan and that the tensions were "going to be coming to an end". "I wish to assure the nation that we are fully prepared and in the highest state of readiness to respond to any provocation by Pakistan".

In a related development, Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general of the Commerce Ministry's Department of Trade Negotiations, said talks on a Thailand-Pakistan free trade agreement (FTA) will not be affected by the India-Pakistan conflict.

"India is the superior power. Though the pilot ejected safely, his parachute drifted into PoJ&K, where he was taken into custody by Pakistan Army", Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor said at a press conference in New Delhi. Pakistan denied any of its jets had been hit.

"Pakistan is ready for any positive step", he added.

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