Abhinandan Varthaman not released under any pressure, says Pak foreign minister

India and Pakistan flags

It came 12 days after 40 CRPF personnel were killed when a JeM suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on February 14.

Pakistan's military said on Saturday its air force and navy "continue to be alert and vigilant", while two of its soldiers were killed after exchanging fire with Indian troops along the LoC. He was in the custody of Pakistan Army since Wednesday when his parachute drifted and fell inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. A Pakistani military statement said two civilians were killed and two others wounded in the fresh fighting. It said there were reports of troop casualties on the Indian side. Pakistani officials said China is expected to send an envoy to Pakistan and India this coming week.

A police official told AFP that Indian troops also surrounded a house in Handwara district of Kashmir after believing they had killed two militants inside.

Kashmir has already been the site of two wars between India and Pakistan. Their father was also critically injured.

Indian army chief Bipin Rawat dashed to Udhampur in his country's sector of Kashmir on Saturday to review border security.

Pakistan has released an Indian combat pilot who was captured after his plane was shot down by their military amid a tense stand-off between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

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The plane crashed on the Pakistani side of the de facto border that separates the two sides of Kashmir, a Himalayan region that has been a source of hostility between the two countries ever since independence from Britain in 1947. Pakistan responded by shooting down at least one Indian bomber and capturing its pilot and dropping bombs on Indian territory.

Varthaman was in one of the eight MiG-21s that took on the invading Pakistan Air Force jets and shot down an F-16, according to Indian officials. "We are at the mercy of these soldiers", said Mohammed Akram, a resident in the Mendhar area in Indian-controlled Kashmir. She can not travel to Indian-controlled Kashmir because of recent suspension of a key bus service by New Delhi.

In the heavily edited video distributed by the Pakistani military just before his release, he praised the professionalism of the Pakistani army and criticized Indian media for creating war hysteria.

"There was neither compulsion nor pressure to release the Indian pilot", the foreign minister said in the interview.

In a phone conversation with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on February 27, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on both India and Pakistan to show self-restraint and sit for talks over their disputes as soon as possible.

He said that Pakistan did not want the peace of the region to be risked over politics.

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