Indian military chiefs said their air defences and radar systems had been programmed to high alert as a result of the latest episode in which the jets were seen accelerating to supersonic speed before flying away. The Indian Air Force has in recent weeks repeatedly reported downing unmanned Pakistani drones they allege have invaded India’s airspace to conduct reconnaissance missions.
Relations nosedived last month when Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed responsibility for a suicide attack that killed at least 40 paramilitary police in Kashmir.
India respond by carrying out airstrikes on an alleged JeM training camp in Pakistan.
Islamabad denies the existence of JeM camps on its territory and claimed the Inidan Air Force (IAF) had bombed an empty hillside and violated its airspace.
The confrontation between the nuclear-armed neighbors escalated further when the Pakistan Air Force downed two IAF jets, reportedly capturing their pilots.
Pakistan later released one of the pilots on March 1 in “a gesture of peace”.
Blacklisted by the UN Security Council in 2001, JeM is a primarily anti-India group that forged ties with al-Qaeda.
In December 2001, an attack on India’s parliament by the group’s fighters and those of another Pakistan-based militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, nearly triggered a fourth war between the two countries
Masood Azhar founded JeM in 2000 after a hostage exchange that freed him from an Indian prison in return for 155 people held on a hijacked aircraft.
Pakistani authorities have linked JeM with two assassination bids on former President Pervez Musharraf in 2003 as well as the kidnap and murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002.