Pakistan will release Indian pilot Friday as 'peace gesture'

Air Canada temporarily suspends flights to India following downed jets

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan struck a conciliatory tone, promising to release the captured Indian pilot as "a peace gesture".

Earlier on Thursday, an India official said it would not negotiate or talk with Pakistan over the fate of a captured air force pilot.

Air Canada is resuming flights to northern India today after Pakistan announced it would reopen its airspace Friday despite ongoing tensions between the two nuclear powers.

While no assurance was given by India on how military tensions would be scaled down, officials reiterated that the targets of Indian action are terror camps and training facilities and that it sees its Balakot action as a "non-military" strike.

Indian police also tightened security Thursday in states bordering Pakistan.

It isn't just that China shares a border with the contested region of Kashmir - Beijing also has important links with both Pakistan and India that it needs to balance.

And despite the unsafe surge in tensions, observers in the two countries, who have fought three wars since their independence and angry split in 1947, noted that India and Pakistan are used to finding ways to step back from the brink.

Flights to and from London, Munich, Paris, Brussels, Milan, Vienna, Stockholm, Zurich, Copenhagen, Oslo, Frankfurt, and Rome had been scheduled to fly over Pakistani airspace on Thursday, Thai Airways said in a statement.

"We were and continue to be very engaged with the issue between India and Pakistan".

His Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, however, has been notably silent amid the recent crisis, saying only that "India will fight, live, work and win as one" at a press conference that made no mention of negotiations to cool down the heated feud.

The first indication that Abhinandan might be released came from US President Donald Trump who told reporters in Hanoi that he expected "reasonably attractive news from Pakistan and India". "We are indulging our efforts to maintain peace in the region". In the past, prisoners have been exchanged over the Wagah border post, which separates the Indian and Pakistani states of Punjab.

Kashmir has been divided but claimed in its entirety by both India and Pakistan since nearly immediately after the two countries' creation in 1947.

Behind him were arrayed the photos of the 40 officers killed in the February 14 attack.

In a televised address on Wednesday, the Pakistani prime minister had said his country is ready to cooperate with New Delhi into the investigation of the February 14 suicide bombing, claimed by Pakistan-based armed group, Jaish-e-Muhammad.

Pakistan shot down an Indian fighter plane over the disputed territory of Kashmir on Wednesday, the latest salvo in a decades-long conflict between the two countries.

After Pakistan's response on Wednesday, the mood in India began to shift.

A number of civilians were also killed in cross-border shelling. Some can be easily debunked, others can't be verified hence it's impossible to get a clear idea of what has really happened in the skies over Kashmir during clashes between Indian and Pakistani jets.

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