Pakistan's Prime Minister said the country will return captured Indian pilot Abhinandan Friday to try to deescalate the tension between the two countries.
Pakistani officials said Thursday that they will release captured Indian pilot wing commander Abhinandan Varthaman Friday amidst escalating tensions between the two South Asian countries.
"We have an Indian pilot. As a peace gesture we will release him tomorrow," Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan said.
Abhinandan's jet was shot down by Pakistani forces. He was then captured by an angry mob and beaten up until the Pakistani soldiers came and rescued him.
"I would like to put this on record and I would not change my statement if I go back to my country. The officers of the Pakistan Army have looked after me very well. They are thorough gentlemen," Abhinandan said after he was rescued from an angry Pakistani mob.
The United States President Donald Trump said American mediation was helping to defuse a crisis between the two nuclear powers a day after both downed enemy jets.
Russia is ready to mediate between India and Pakistan to try to calm tensions. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday, “If they want this, then of course.”
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova later said Moscow was ready to do anything it could to help.
“We are concerned about the escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan and the dangerous maneuvering of the two countries’ armed forces near the line of control, which risks direct military clashes,” Zakharova told reporters.
Pakistan's Khan said he had tried to contact his Indian counterpart Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday night without any success.
"Pakistan is ready for any positive step," Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Thursday, adding that "Pakistan is ready to de-escalate the situation."