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Surgical Strike updates: Mumbai, Ambala on high alert; Australia says Pakistan must act against terror groups

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Surgical Strike updates: Mumbai, Ambala on high alert; Australia says Pakistan must act against terror groups
  • 18:43 (IST)

    All-party meet ends; Ghulam Nabi Azad says Congress appreciates efforts of forces

    After the all-party meet, which was chaired by Sushma Swaraj, Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, "We have appreciated the efforts by the forces, they always have our support to end terrorism. Another good thing is that it was a clean operation, which specifically targeted terrorists and terror camps,"

  • 18:34 (IST)

    RSS issues statement on Tuesday's air strike

    In a statement posted on Facebook, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) said, "The entire nation was agitated and angry in the wake of terror attack by “Jaish-e-Mohammed” in Pulwama. Today, the Indian Air Force demolished ‘Jaish-e-Mohammed’s” Pakistan-based ‘base-camps’ by precision air strikes. We congratulate the Government of India and the Indian Air Force for exactly translating the feelings and anger of millions of Indians. These air strikes were carried out without causing any harm and damage to the Pakistani Army and civilians as well, which is in tune with the Bharatiya culture."

  • 18:05 (IST)

    Modi to review airstrike in high-level meeting shortly

    CNN-News18 reported that Narendra Modi will chair a meeting with intelligence chiefs and Air chief Marshal BS Dhanoa. NSA Ajit Doval will update Modi on the latest developments.

  • 18:03 (IST)

    Amit Shah recalls Modi's 2014 promise of 'safe and secure India'

    Speaking in Ghazipur, BJP chief Amit Shah said, "Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised a safe and secure India in 2014. First, there was a surgical strike to answer the terrorism in Uri, and now, an aerial strike against terrorism."

    "After the Pulwama attack, the countrymen demanded that such action be taken that the enemy would think ten times to repeat such incident. Today, the air force has eliminated the air strikes on the terrorists hidden in the PoK," he said.

  • 17:57 (IST)

    Pakistan Army violates ceasefire along the LoC in Nowshera, Akhnoor 

    ANI reported that the Pakistan Army violated ceasefire along the Line of Control in Nowshera, and Akhnoor sectors in Jammu and Kashmir. According to CNN-News18, Pakistan has violated truce five times on Tuesday.

  • 17:48 (IST)

    Mumbai, Ambala on high alert

    NDTV reported that the Ambala air base and Mumbai naval base have been put on high alert. Meanwhile, the forces are maintaining a strict vigil at Wagah Border.

  • 17:34 (IST)

    Today an important day, says Modi 

    Following the airstrikes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is visiting Delhi's ISKCON temple, said, "God's powers are always with us to save the Earth from the enemies of mankind. This is the message we are trying to send to the evil spirits."

  • 17:28 (IST)

    IAF paid 'real tribute' to CRPF soldiers killed in Pulwama attack, says BJP's Ram Madhav

    Speaking to ANI, BJP general-secretary Ram Madhav said, "After Pulwama attack, the nation was mourning for 12 days and on the 13th day our valiant air force paid the real tribute to the martyred soldiers by destroying terror training camps deep inside Pakistan territory."

  • 17:20 (IST)

    All-party meeting underway at MEA

    External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is chairing an all-party meeting at the Ministry of External Affairs.

  • 17:08 (IST)

    Jaitley briefs Kovind, Venkaiah Naidu over airstrikes
    Finance Minister Arun Jaitley gave a detailed briefing of operation to President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu. CNN-News18 reported that it was discussed at the meeting that Tuesday's strike was not a revenge attack over Pulwama but rather a strike to protect India's sovereignity.

  • 17:03 (IST)

    Amarinder Singh holds high-level meeting in Chandigarh

    Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh held a high-level meeting in Chandigarh with state minister Manpreet Badal and senior officials in the wake of the strikes on JeM terror camps.

  • 17:01 (IST)

    Pakistan says will take international media to area of strikes

    To rebuke Indian "propaganda", Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the Imran Khan government will take international media to the area of strikes. "Helicopters are being readied. Right now, the weather is bad. (The helicopters) will fly when weather permits,' he was quoted as saying by ANI.

  • 16:57 (IST)

    Amarinder Singh says Punjab put border districts on high alert

    "Punjab has put its border districts on high alert in the wake of the Indian Air Force's (IAF) strikes across the Line of Control, undertaken by India as a retaliatory measure in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack," a statement said by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's office.

  • 16:52 (IST)

    Exercise restraint, avoid action which would endanger peace: Australia tells India, Pakistan

    Australian foreign affairs minister Marise Payne said, "The Australian government is concerned about relations between India and Pakistan following the horrific terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir on 14 February, which Australia has condemned... Pakistan must take urgent and meaningful action against terrorist groups in its territory, including Jaish-e-Mohammed which has claimed responsibility for the 14 February bombing, and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

    "Pakistan must do everything possible to implement its own proscription of Jaish-e-Mohammed. It can no longer allow extremist groups the legal and physical space to operate from its territory. These steps would make a substantial contribution to easing tensions and resolving the underlying causes of conflict.

    "Australia urges both sides to exercise restraint, avoid any action which would endanger peace and security in the region and engage in dialogue to ensure that these issues are resolved peacefully"

  • 16:47 (IST)

    Govt sources say six bombs were dropped by Mirage 2000s

    Quoting government sources, ANI reported that a total of six bombs were dropped on Pakistan based terrorist camps by the Indian Air Force Mirage 2000s.

  • 16:45 (IST)

    The key JeM operatives who were targets of Tuesday's airstrikes

    According to ANI, Maulana Ammar, Maulana Talha Saif, Ibrahim Azhar, and Mufti Azhar Khan Kashmiri were among the key JeM targets in the airstrikes.

  • 16:38 (IST)

    Pakistani villagers say one person wounded in Indian air strike

    Pakistani villagers in the area where Indian jets struck what officials in New Delhi said was a militant training camp said they heard four loud bangs in the early hours of Tuesday but reported only one person wounded by bomb shards.

    “We saw trees fallen down and one house damaged and four craters where the bombs had fallen,” said Mohammad Ajmal, a 25-year-old who visited the site.

  • 16:35 (IST)

    Pakistani forces will never allow forces to venture that deep into territory, says Shah Mahmood Qureshi

    At the briefing, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said, "Pakistan Army, Air Force will never allow enemy forces to venture that deep into territory. We were prepared...Pakistan Air Force was airborne and we were ready for all eventualities. It was a multi-dimensional intrusion attempt. They saw our alert air force and turned back."

    "After the Pulwama attack, we had said in a briefing that the Modi government will carry out some misadventure ahead of (Lok Sabha) elections. Bashing Pakistan is the easiest way to win over the extreme Right," he said.

  • 16:31 (IST)

    Pakistan govt forms parliamentary committee to take all parties into confidence

    At a press conference, Pakistani foreign affairs minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said, "A parliamentary committee has been constituted in which the foreign minister, defense Minister, finance minister will be included so that all parties should be taken into confidence."

  • 16:22 (IST)

    Kejriwal postpones his plan to launch indefinite hunger strike

    AAP supremo and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had earlier planned to sit on indefinite hunger strike from 1 March to garner support for his demand of full statehood for Delhi.

  • Will hoist Pakistan flag in Delhi, says Shahbaz Sharif who sheltered JeM and LeT

    After Indian Air Force bombed Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps, Pakistani leader Shahbaz Sharif, brother of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was quoted by Geo TV as saying that "Pakistan's flag will fly in Delhi." The statement from the Pakistani leader shows how the successive governments have been sheltering terrorists to be used against India for proxy war.

    In fact, there have been instances to indicate that Pakistani leaders appreciate terrorists operating from its soil against India. Former Punjab governor Salman Taseer had claimed that Sharif brothers are close to terrorists, including Masood Azhar. The Wikileaks file on Shahbaz Sharif quoted Taseer as saying: "The Punjab government has done nothing to arrest Qari Saif Ullah Akhtar of Harkat Jihad al Islami; Maulana Masood Azhar of Jaiseh-e-Muhammad; Maulana Ludianvi of Sipah-e-Sahaba, or Hafiz Muhammad Saeed Azhar of Lashkar-e-Taiba — despite outstanding warrants for their detention."

    Now, this clearly shows why Shahbaz is so angry. He and his brother have been flirting with most-wanted terrorists in Pakistan, who are being used as hired guns to target India. The bombing of JeM camps has angered younger Sharif, who all along supported terrorist outfits. 

  • 16:07 (IST)

    Everyone was sleeping unprepared when IAF pounded terrorist camp, say sources

    Everyone at the camp was sleeping and Pakistani defence establishment had no clue that the attack was coming so deep into their country because they had expected a surgical strike on camps in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir near the Line of Control, said the sources who are close to the government. 

    Fighter and other aircraft took off from several air bases in Western and Central commands at about the same time, leaving Pakistani defence officials confused as to where they were heading, the sources said. A small group of aircraft broke away from the swarm and headed to Balakot where "the sleeping terrorists were sitting ducks for the Indian bombing," said one source. 
     
    PTI

  • 16:05 (IST)

    5-star Balakot camp was sitting duck target for IAF, 350 terrorists killed while sleeping: sources

    Hundreds of Fidayeen and their trainers were shifted from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir to a five-star, resort style camp in a hilltop forest in Balakot after the Pulwama attack, providing Indian forces with "a sitting duck target" when they carried out an air strike early Tuesday, killing up to 350 terrorists, sources said. 

     
    India received intelligence that JeM had shifted many in-training terrorists and hardcore operatives, along with their trainers, to the Balakot camp, which has facilities for 500 to 700 people, and even has a swimming pool along with cooks and cleaners. PTI
     

  • 15:41 (IST)

    Air strike on Pakistan increases Modi's chance to return, say analysts

    The air strike on terror camps in Pakistan is a positive for the markets as it illustrates a "decisiveness" in foreign policy and increases the chances of Narendra Modi to retain power after the forthcoming polls, say analysts.

    The air strike on terror camps in Pakistan is a positive for the markets as it illustrates a "decisiveness" in foreign policy and increases the chances of Narendra Modi to retain power after the forthcoming polls, say analysts. - PTI

  • 15:37 (IST)

    Gujarat on high alert 

    Gujarat police on Tuesday issued a "high alert" across the state followingIndia's preemptive strike on Jaish-e-Mohammed's (JeM) biggest terror camp in Pakistan. Gujarat's Director General of Police Shivanand Jha cancelled a conference on crime-related issues scheduled at the Police Bhavan in Gandhinagar and asked all officers who reached here to attend it to return to their respective headquarters in view of the alert sounded in the state.

    "In view of the action on terrorists across the border by IAF, all establishments have been put on high alert," a message from DGP's office to the district headquarters said. "The conference scheduled for today here at this office stands cancelled and all officials are requested to return to their headquarters," it added. 

  • 15:33 (IST)

    Diplomatic Corps in India back IAF's action, say New Delhi acted in responsibly

    Dean of Diplomatic Corps, Hans Castellanos said, "We are satisfied that Indian government has had such a rapid response in informing Heads of Missions. The information is that they did not affect any civilian or any Pakistan military installation, that it was a direct attack due to credible intelligence received."  

  • 15:28 (IST)

    Pakistan will respond to 'uncalled for Indian agression' at time and place of its choosing 

    Pakistan's ruling party Pakistan Tehreef-e-Insaf tweeted that Pakistan will retaliate to the "Indian aggression" at a time and place of its choosing. 

  • 15:24 (IST)

    India's story on air strikes fictitous, created for domostic consumption in poll year, says Pakistan's ruling party

    Imran Khan chaired a special meeting of the National Security Committee at his office today. The forum "strongly rejected Indian claim of targeting an alleged terrorist camp near Balakot and the claim of heavy casualties. Once again Indian government has resorted to a self serving, reckless and fictitious claim."

    A Pakistani statement further said, "This action has been done for domestic consumption being in election environment,putting regional peace and stability at grave risk.The claimed area of strike is open for the world to see the facts on ground.For this domestic&international media is being taken to the impact site."

  • 15:18 (IST)

    Imran Khan to take media to attack site to expose 'India's lies'; will address media at 3.30 pm

    In his first response after the Indian air strikes, Imran Khan accused India of lying and said that he will take the international media to the site of attack to expose New Delhi. Imran will also give a detailed statement in press conference at 3.30 pm.

  • 15:13 (IST)

    Flags of US, UK painted on floor of JeM terrorist camp, show latest images 

    Intelligence sources have revealed that flags of USA, UK and Israel were painted on staircases inside the Jaish-e-Mohammed facility destroyed by Indian Air Force jets in Balakot. The visuals were tweeted by ANI. 

  • 14:59 (IST)

    China calls for 'restraint' after India's air strikes

    China has reacted on the Indian Air Force's strike on Jaish-e-Mohammed's biggest training camp in Pakistan. Beijing came out with a short statement asking both nations to exercise restraint, PTI reported. 

  • Balakot aside, IAF targetted 5 terrorist camps in Kangar in KPK province 

    According to top government sources, the Indian Air Force independently struck five terror camps at Kangar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.  

  • 14:43 (IST)

    India had shared intel inputs on location of Balakot terrorist camp with Pakistan in 2016

    According to government sources, they had shared details of Balakot terror training camp head Maulana Yousuf Azhar with Pakistan in 2006. Yousuf alias Salim alias Ghouri, brother in law of JeM chief Masood Azhar, was the brain behind hijacking of IC-814.   

  • 14:40 (IST)

    Pakistani president takes note of surgical srikes, says Pakistan can defend itself

    Pakistani president has reacted to the Indian Air Force strike in Pakistan. In a tweet, Arif Alvi said that it would be a mistake to underestimate Pakistan's capability to defend itself. 

  • 14:37 (IST)

    India claims IAF strike in Pakistan an intelligence-based counter terror strike, says over 300 terrorists eliminated

    "This was an intelligence based counter terror strike not a military action for sake of war. Have demolished entire terror set up in the suicide bombing training centre in Balakot, and over 300 terrorists were eliminated in the covert operation by Indian Air Force," government sources said. 

  • 14:23 (IST)

    First visuals of JeM facility destroyed by IAF strikes

    News agency ANI tweeted out visuals of the JeM facility destroyed by Indian Ar Force strikes in Balakot. However, the time when the picture was tweeted is not clear. 

  • 14:20 (IST)

    Narendra Modi recites BJP's 2014 anthem at rally in Churu 

    "Today I repeat what I said back in 2014 - Saugandh mujhe is mitti ki main desh nahi mitne doonga, main desh nahi rukne doonga. Main desh nahi jhukne doonga....Mera vachan hai Bharat maa ko, tera sheesh nahi jhukne doonga..." 

  • 14:14 (IST)

    India is in safe hands: Modi tells India

    "Today, from Churu's land, I assure the countrymen that the country is in safe hands," roared a confident Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday. "Today your mood is different," said Modi before raising Bharat Mata ki Jai slogans.

  • 13:58 (IST)

    Retaliatory action will actually be the start of the unlearning process for Pakistan: Sajad Lone

    People's Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone Tuesday said the air strikes carried out by the Indian Air Force on terror camps in Pakistan will set a benchmark for deterrence and eventually end the cycle of violence.

    "Pacifist to the core I am. But the reality as it stares in our faces is that this retaliatory action will actually be the start of the unlearning process for Pakistan. This will set the benchmark for deterrence. And eventually crowd out cycle of violence," Lone said in a tweet. 

  • 13:57 (IST)

    Today's strong action shows the will and resolve of a New India, tweets Amit Shah

    In a series of tweets, BJP chief Amit Shah said that the airstrikes conducted by the IAF on Tuesday "further demonstrates that India is safe and secure under the strong and decisive leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi." 

  • 13:55 (IST)

    Narendra Modi is making every countryman proud: Nitin Gadkari

  • 13:54 (IST)

    Residents of Balakot have confirmed air strikes by IAF, reports BBC Hindi

  • 13:44 (IST)

    Hindutva ideologues have resulted in rigid attitude towards Pakistan: Media

    An editorial in Dawn, put the onus on war-mongering on "Hindutva ideologues" and said, "In India’s case, Hindutva ideologues have infiltrated all levels of the state machinery; this has resulted in an increasingly rigid attitude towards Pakistan."

    The article further noted "Indian military's brutal tactics" in Kashmir and wrote, "Moreover, the Indian military’s brutal tactics in occupied Kashmir have fired up Kashmiri resistance, with the region’s disillusioned youth convinced that only armed struggle against India will help them secure their rights. But it is also true that Pakistan can take steps to send positive signals across the border. Among these can be speeding up the legal process to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack to justice."

  • 13:36 (IST)

    Khawaja Asif calls on Pakistani politicians to put differences aside after IAF strike

    Former Pakistan defence minister Khawaja Asif, in a fiery address on the floor of the National Assembly on Tuesday, called for all parties to "put on a united front" in the wake of IAF's "non-military" pre-emptive strike in Pakistan's Balakot area. 

    "Our country, our sovereignty, our integrity are being threatened," Asif reportedly said, asking that a joint sitting of Parliament be convened on Tuesday. "It is the need of the hour that we show solidarity with the Army." The PML-N leader said it is "not the time for political point-scoring", and called for all political parties to "suspend their differences for some time. Asif also said that the message should be sent that all lawmakers are "one in the matter of Kashmir".

  • 13:23 (IST)

    Imran Khan calls 'important meeting'

    Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan has convened an "important meeting" to review the emerging situation in the wake of airstrikes by Indian Air Force in Balakot. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had summoned an emergency meeting at the Foreign Office in Islamabad to discuss the security situation with former secretaries and senior ambassadors earlier on Tuesday, Pakistan media reported.

  • India had shared with US intel input on 8 major terror camps in PoK and Pakistan

    India had shared input on eight major terror training camps in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Pakistan with US intelligence besides two dozen small camps. These are as following: 

    1. Lashkar-e-Taiba's religious training institute near Muzaffarabad
    2. Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp "Bukad Bud" near Mansehra
    3.  Hizbul Mujahideen camp on hill near Mangla
    4. Two camps near Shinkari and Tarbela
    5. A huge camp housing more than 200 terror recruits on Mansehra Ridge
    6. Terror camps at Safaidi, Mansehra 
    7. Hizbul Mujahideen camp at Mansehra
    8. Let and Hizbul Mujahideen camp at Chakoti, Hattian Bala 

  • 13:13 (IST)

    Inbound civil traffic being monitored at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi

    Unconfirmed reports on Twitter claimed that inbound civil traffic is being monitored at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. The tweet also claimed that heavy military movement has been spotted around the airport following the IAF strikes in Balakot.

  • 12:50 (IST)

    Balakot or Bala Kote?

    With Pakistan military spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor tweeting that the IAF jets had dropped the payload "in haste" near Balakot, confusion ensued about whether the IAF strike took place just across the Line of Control in the town located in Mansehra district of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, or in a similarly named town Bala Kote near the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch sector.

  • 12:46 (IST)

    Balakot strikes were necessary, says Lt Gen DS Hooda (Retired), the Northern Army Commander 

    "My compliment goes to the government for taking this action and also to the Air Force for the way they have carried out this strike (in Balakot) in an absolutely professional manner," Lt Gen DS Hooda (Retired), the Northern Army Commander said. 

    "All pilots are safe. I think it needed to be done. I personally had no doubt in my mind after Pulwama attack that some strong action will be taken by the government," Hooda further said. 

  • 12:36 (IST)

    Sushma Swaraj invites Opposition leaders for briefing on Balakot strikes

    Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj has invited Opposition leaders for a briefing on strike on Jaish terror camps. The meeting is scheduled at 5 pm at Jawahar Bhawan.

Surgical Strike Latest updates: The naval base at Ambala air base and Mumbai naval base have been put on high alert. Meanwhile, Australian foreign affairs minister Marise Payne said, "Pakistan must take urgent and meaningful action against terrorist groups in its territory, including Jaish-e-Mohammed which has claimed responsibility for the 14 February bombing, and Lashkar-e-Taiba."

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is chairing an all-party meeting at the Ministry of External Affairs. Earlier, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley gave a detailed briefing of operation to President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu.

Quoting government sources, ANI reported that a total of six bombs were dropped on Pakistan based terrorist camps by the Indian Air Force Mirage 2000s.

Pakistani villagers in the area where Indian jets struck what officials in New Delhi said was a militant training camp said they heard four loud bangs in the early hours of Tuesday but reported only one person wounded by bomb shards.

In his first response after the Indian air strikes, Imran Khan said that Pakistan will strongly respond to the Indian aggression at a time and place of its choosing. He also asked Pakistani citizens to stay prepared for any eventuality.

Dean of Diplomatic Corps, Hans Castellanos said, "We are satisfied that Indian government has had such a rapid response in informing Heads of Missions. The information is that they did not affect any civilian or any Pakistan military installation, that it was a direct attack due to credible intelligence received."

In his first response after the Indian air strikes, Imran Khan accused India of lying and said that he will take the international media to the site of attack to expose New Delhi. Imran will also give a detailed statement in press conference at 3.30 pm.

"We had been telling the world that India is likely to do something like this (airstrike in Pakistan). Today they have done it," Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said. "I could see that the clouds of danger were hovering over Pakistan. Pakistan is live and strong. We are a responsible nation and will respond in a responsible and tactical manner. Pakistan knows how to safeguard its interests."

Addressing a public rally at Rajasthan's Churu and in a first response after the IAF airstrikes in Pakistan's Balakot area, Prime Minister Narendra Modi started his speech to the slogans of Bharat Mata ki Jai. "India is in safe hands, bhaiyyon aur beheno," said Modi to a massive gathering where the crowd chanted "Narendra Modi" in unison.

In a series of tweets, BJP chief Amit Shah said that the airstrikes conducted by the IAF on Tuesday "further demonstrates that India is safe and secure under the strong and decisive leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi."

Stunned by the Indian Air Force airstrikes on Tuesday, Pakistan said it will give an "appropriate reply" to the Indian action, which it described as 'grave aggression". Soon after Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale issued official statement after the airstrikes, Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Prime Minister Imran Khan has called a meeting to discuss the issue.

Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan has convened an "important meeting" to review the emerging situation in the wake of airstrikes by Indian Air Force in Balakot. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had summoned an emergency meeting at the Foreign Office in Islamabad to discuss the security situation with former secretaries and senior ambassadors earlier on Tuesday, Pakistan media reported.

Defence sources have reportedly said that the IAF strike lasted not more than 21 minutes, right from take off till the return into Indian territory. The strike took place in Balakote, 24 kilometre northwest of Muzaffarabad at around 3:45-3:53 am. The joint training camps of JeM, LeT and Hizbul Mujahideen were hit. Reports further suggested that the terrorist groups had emptied their launchpads but not the training camps.

Here are the three locations in Pakistan bombed by Indian Air Force today:

- Balakot, which is 24 kilometre northwest of Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, was struck between 3.45 am and 3.53 am. However, there is still confusion over whether this place falls in PoK or proper Pakistani territory.

- Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, was hit between 3.48 am and 3.55 am.

- Chakoti, was he last to be hit between 3.58 am and 4.04 am

NSA Ajit Doval along with Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat and IAF Chief BS Dhanoa is reviewing the security situation on the borders after Indian Air Force strikes at Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp in Balakot across Line of Control, reports have said.

An editorial in Dawn slammed the Indian media and said "particularly jarring are the armchair warriors of the media — especially on the Indian side — baying for the blood of the ‘other’." The editorial, titled War rhetoric & reality said, "There has also been a reprehensible effort to exploit the attack and work up anti-Kashmiri and anti-Muslim sentiments in India, predominantly by the storm troopers of Hindutva. But perhaps what is most worrisome is that ministers and members of the establishment on both sides are talking casually about war."

The article further notes: "In such a tense atmosphere, India should take up Pakistan’s offer to “give peace a chance” as the alternatives to constructive dialogue are confrontation and yet more hostility."

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale told the media that the non-military pre-emptive strike in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir's Balakot area was aimed solely at the Jaish-e-Mohammad and its leaders Masood Azhar. Sources at the Ministry of External Affairs told Firstpost that the attacks were carried out in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan putting to rest the speculations whether the strikes were conducted in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir or in Pakistan.

Large number of Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists, trainers and senior commanders were eliminated in largest Jaish camp in Balakot, Gokhale said. The Ministry of External Affairs briefing was held after reports claimed that combat jets of the Indian Air Force bombed terror camps at multiple locations across the Line of Control on the Pakistani side in a pre-dawn strike.

The Indian retaliation comes 12 days after the Pakistan-based terror group, Jaish-e-Mohammed carried out the Pulwama attack in Kashmir, government sources said.

Gokhale further said that the camp was led by Maulana Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghauri, brother in law of JeM Chief Masood Azhar. "In an intelligence-led operation in the early hours today, India struck the biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot. In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commander and Jihadis were eliminated. Credible information was received that JeM was attempting other attacks in the country. A pre-emptive strike became important. India struck the biggest camp of JeM in Balakot."

Reports have said that a Pakistani drone has been shot down at around 6.30 am in Gujarat's Kutch region. More details on this are awaited.

The states of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir have been put on high alert as India expects Pakistani forces to retaliate after it carried out strikes. The Indian Air Force has reportedly readied the air defence missile system to nullify any possible air attacks.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval has briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Afterwards, the prime minister is scheduled to chair a crucial Cabinet Committee for Security meet, which will be attended by Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Balakote training camp is in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, which means India has struck inside Pakistani territory, and not just occupied areas of Jammu and Kashmir. This may account for the absence of official confirmation from the Defence Ministry as India has no wish to push Pakistan into a corner from where it has to hit back on Jaish-e-Mohammad’s behalf. Reuters is reporting that the Defence Ministry is saying it has no knowledge of violations of Pakistani airspace.

CNN-News18 reported quoting government sources that the Balakot Jaish camp has been completely flattened in the limited strikes conducted by Indian Air Force. The sources said that initial assessment of damages suggest at least 200 to 300 casualties.

At least 12 Mirage 2000 jets took part in the operation that dropped 1000 kilogramme bombs on terror camps across Line of Control, completely destroying it, ANI reported. The operation was launched at 3.56 am on Tuesday morning.

Indian Air Force sources told ANI that a group of Mirage 2000 jets struck a major terrorist camp in Balakot sector in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. The sources said that the targetted militant training camp was 'completely destroyed' and the pilots safely came back into the Indian territory.

Pakistan on Tuesday alleged that Indian Air Force aircraft crossed the Line of Control and were forced to turn back after Pakistan Air Force scrambled into action. Pakistan Army spokesperson, Major General Asif Ghafoor tweeted Tuesday morning alleging that more than one Indian Air Force jet 'intruded' into Pakistani territory from Muzaffarabad sector. Ghafoor said, "Facing timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force, (IAF jets) released payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot. No casualties or damage."

Khuram Malik, a Pakistani journalist, reported on Twitter that the incident was from around 1.45 am on Tuesday night. The Pakistan Army, however, has not provided any specific timeline.

The claim remains unsubstantiated from India. CNN-News18 reported that the Indian Air Force is yet to respond to their request to respond on Pakistan's claim.

Meanwhile, various news reports said that the IAF jets conducted a concentrated attack in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir to target the terror camps. CNN-News18 reported, quoting top defence ministry sources, that multiple IAF jets targeted Jaish-e-Mohammad camps in Balakot sector of Pakistan Occupied scheme.

This comes amid heightened tension between two nations in the wake of the Pulwama terrorist attack, which killed at least 42 Central Reserve Police Force  jawans on 14 February. While Pakistan-based group Jaish-e-Mohammad had claimed responsibility within hours of the attack, Islamabad denies any role in the incident. India has, meanwhile, promised to take this seriously and give Pakistan an appropriate response at a befitting time.

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Updated Date: Feb 26, 2019 18:43:39 IST