Escalating the situation, India and Pakistan exchanged fire across the Line of Control on 26 and 27 February. Ten Indian soldiers were injured while four Pakistani civilians were killed in the shelling. On the latter day, Pakistan conducted airstrikes in Indian-administered Kashmir which caused no casualties or damage.
Also on 27 February, Pakistan claimed that it had captured two pilots after shooting down two Indian jets over Pakistani airspace. India claimed that only one MiG-21 had been lost and demanded the release of the pilot. India also claimed to have shot down a Pakistani F-16, which Pakistan denied. Pakistan later clarified that only one Indian pilot, Abhinandan Varthaman, was captured, and he was subsequently released on 1 March.
India and Pakistan have long been at odds with each other, having engaged in several wars, conflicts, and military standoffs. The roots of the continued tension are complex, but have centered mainly around the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. After the 1947 Partition of India, the newly-formed independent states of Pakistan and India squabbled over it, which led to the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947–1948 and a subsequent sharing of the state. The settlement was non-agreeable to both the parties and since then, this had become an ongoing intractable issue leading to a war in 1965. The nations also partook in another war in 1971 which led to the formation of Bangladesh. Both countries developed nuclear weapons in the 1990s and this had a sobering effect on the next major conflict – the 1999 Kargil War.
The standoff occurred ahead of the 2019 Indian general election. After the Pulwama attack, Pakistan's PM attributed Indian government's desire to retaliate against Pakistan to the upcoming election. The Indian government rejected the allegation. Many analysts have stated that a military response to Pakistan would improve the electoral prospects of India's ruling party.