03/01/2019, 10.58
INDIA - PAKISTAN
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Card. Gracias: The Indian Church awaits the return of the pilot captured in Pakistan

by Nirmala Carvalho

The return of Abhinandan Varthaman is scheduled for today. Pakistani premier Imran Khan said that the release of the Indian pilot is a "gesture of peace" to defuse the conflict between the two nations. President of the Indian bishops: "We hope it will be the beginning of a peace process".

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The Indian Church "welcomes with enthusiasm the return of the aeronautical pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. It is a great joy for the country and his family” said Card. Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Indian Bishops' Conference speaking to AsiaNews.

The Indian Air Force pilot was captured in Pakistan two days ago, when his jet plane was shot down for illegally overflying Islamabad airspace. He is expected to return to India today

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said the release of the Indian pilot wants to be a "gesture of peace" to defuse the conflict between the two nations. The capture of the military has increased the tension between India and Pakistan, reactivated with the attack on Indian soldiers in Kashmir on 14 February, carried out by a militant of the Pakistani terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed.

In retaliation, on February 26, the Delhi government bombed a JeM training camp in Balakot, on Pakistani territory, killing about 300 terrorists. The next day the two fighter jets were shot down by the Islamabad anti-aircraft and the capture of one of the two pilots.

Card. Gracias believes that the restitution of the prisoner is a good sign: "Pakistan proves to respect the Geneva Convention [on the treatment of prisoners in war zones, signed in 1949, it provides that the injured are treated with humanity, ed.]. We hope this is the beginning of a process that leads to the disengagement of tension between our two neighboring countries and opens the way to peace, dialogue and commitment to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the region and the [Indian] subcontinent ".

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