Pakistan to Release Captured Indian Pilot, Easing Tensions

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Prime Minister says pilot captured after his plane was shot down in clash with Pakistani jet fighters will be freed.

… world powers scrambled to stop the escalation of violence. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had phone calls with leaders in both countries Wednesday evening after President Donald Trump’s meeting with the leader of North Korea. The State Department didn’t immediately clarify whether Mr. Pompeo had spoken again with his counterparts, or with the two nations’ top leaders.

President Trump said the U.S. was playing a role in pulling India and Pakistan away from the brink. “We’ve been in the middle trying to help them both out,” he said.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said his country would soon release an Indian air force pilot captured Wednesday, a gesture that appeared to dial back a confrontation between the nuclear-armed states after two days of back-and-forth military attacks.

The escalating violence began Feb. 14 with a terrorist bombing that killed 40 Indian paramilitary officers in Kashmir, an area that both India and Pakistan claim in a longstanding border dispute. India blamed Pakistan, and a retaliatory strike that India launched into the country sparked an attack by Pakistan in which both sides claimed to have shot down rival planes.

The Indian pilot, who ejected when his plane was hit during that clash Wednesday, was captured when he parachuted to the ground in Pakistan.

According to Pakistan, India formally requested that the pilot be released on Thursday morning, hours before Mr. Khan’s announcement that he would be freed on Friday.

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Pakistan to Release Captured Indian Pilot, Easing Tensions