The recent spike in tensions between India and Pakistan, explained

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Pakistan has released the Indian pilot it captured earlier this week in an attempt to defuse the situation.

Tensions between two nuclear-armed countries, India and Pakistan, are at one of the highest points in decades. On Friday, though, the situation seemed to improve somewhat when Pakistan released an Indian combat pilot that they had captured earlier that week.

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s plane was shot down during an air skirmish between the two countries on Wednesday. After parachuting into Pakistani territory, he was reportedly beaten by a mob of people before the military took him into custody. In one video that emerged, Varthaman is shown blindfolded and bloody, and in another, he is drinking tea and saying that he’s been treated well.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision to release the pilot comes amid public pressure on the two leaders to back down from the brink of war, after a number of recent tit for tat attacks.

India and Pakistan have been engaged in simmering conflict for decades

India and Pakistan are neighbors who have been engaged in varying levels of conflict for decades.

The main source of conflict at the moment is Kashmir, a disputed border region between the two countries.

On February 14, a massive suicide attack killed dozens of Indian soldiers who were traveling in a convoy to the city of Srinagar, in a part of Kashmir that’s under India’s control.

Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), an Islamist militant group that wants the disputed border region to become part of Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the attack. The group is designated as a terrorist organization by the US State Department, as well as the United Nations, the United Kingdom, and India.

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