Pakistan minister says ready to return pilot to ease India tension

Indian pilot Wing Commander Abhi Nandan captured by Pakistan is seen in this handout photo released February 27, 2019. Inter Service Public Relation (ISPR) Handout via REUTERS

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan would be prepared to return the Indian pilot shot down and captured this week if it helped ease the crisis with its neighbor, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told Pakistani television station Geo TV on Thursday.

“We are willing to return the captured Indian pilot if it leads to de-escalation,” he was quoted as saying.

He also said the Saudi foreign minister was expected to visit Pakistan with a special message from Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who visited both Pakistan and India earlier this month.

Reporting by James Mackenzie; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore