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