India on Thursday dismissed any possibility of a deal with Pakistan to secure the release of Indian Air Force pilot adding that it expects the Wing Commander to be returned immediately.
“The IAF pilot has to be repatriated unconditionally and immediately. There is no question of any deal,” a source was quoted as saying by PTI.
Government sources said that India has not asked for consular access but the immediate release of the IAF pilot.
“If Pakistan thinks they have a card to negotiate with then they are mistaken. India expects the Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman to be treated in a humane manner,” a source said.
Reacting in strong words, the government said Pakistan was trying to “create a Kandahar-type pressure, but India will not give in and there will be no deal or talks”.
This was in reference to the infamous Indian Airlines flight hijacking in 1999 following which the Indian government had to helplessly release three terrorists including JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar.
The IAF pilot was captured on Wednesday after aerial combat between Indian and Pakistani fighter planes.
Dismissing chances of any talks, the government sources said, “immediate, credible and verifiable action against terror is required before any conversation”.
“Imran Khan should now walk the talk on dealing with terrorism,” they added.
The government further said that it was Pakistan which had escalated the tension by targeting Indian military installations on Wednesday.
“India did not target any civilians or military installations,” it said.
India did not deliberately cross the LoC, the government said, adding that India has foiled attempts by Pakistan to create a war psychosis.
Defending India’s decision to not give actionable intelligence on Pulwama, the government said Pakistan has also not in the past acted on actionable inputs on Mumbai terror attacks and the Pathankot attack.
It said Pakistan has remained in denial of the role of JeM even after 13 days of Pulwama terror attack.
The sources also questioned Khan’s statement on Wednesday that two Indian jets were downed in air combat and asked: “was he not briefed or did he say an untruth”.
The government earlier on Wednesday summoned the Pakistani envoy and handed over a demarche demanding the “immediate and safe return” of the pilot. It also strongly objected to Pakistan’s “vulgar display” of the pilot and said Pakistan “would be well advised to ensure that no harm comes to him”.
Meanwhile, according to Geo News, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has reportedly said Pakistan is willing to consider returning Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman if it leads to a de-escalation of ties with India.