India exposed Pakistan's "nuclear bluff" by carrying out an air strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in the neighbouring country's Balakot on February 26, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reportedly said on Saturday.
The Union Minister said this on India TV's Aap Ki Adalat programme, news agency IANS reported. "India fought and won conventional wars against Pakistan in 1965, 1971 and during the Kargil conflict. Since then, Pakistan's army has realised that because of our huge economy and superior military strength, conventional wars cannot be won," it quoted him as saying.
He claimed that the Pakistan Army then had two options - one, fighting a proxy war with the help of terrorists, and two, projecting a nuclear bluff. "Since both the countries are armed with nuclear weapons, the nuclear bluff was their second option. But it has been exposed this time," Mr Jaitley said.
According to IANS, the Finance Minister said that India has stopped adopting a defensive posture under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership. "Till now, Pakistan's policy was to send terrorists for carrying out attacks while our policy was to be on the defensive. Modiji has brought about a small change in that. While we will continue to defend ourselves, we will also attack the main sources of terrorism. The 2016 surgical strike was our first step, and the latest air strikes were the second," he said at the event, adding that the operations were widely supported across the globe.
Mr Jaitley reportedly said that opposition parties were indulging in "foolish politics" by seeking evidence of the Balakot strike. "These parties and leaders should know that operational details of the armed forces are never shared," he was quoted as saying by the news agency.
According to IANS, Mr Jaitley cited two reasons for Pakistan claiming that the Indian jets were forced flee after unloading their payload into an uninhabited zone. "There are two plausible reasons... First, the Pakistan army had created a big aura about its prowess among Pakistanis, and it did not want its image dented," he said.
The second reason was more vital, the Finance Minister claimed. "Had the Pakistan army admitted that our fighters bombed its buildings, the first question to be raised would have been: What was the extent of damage? Experts would have come for a survey of the buildings and asked about the people staying inside... then Pakistan would have had to reveal names of the Jaish fighters who died there," the news agency quoted Mr Jaitley as saying.
India had targeted a terrorist camp in Pakistan's Balakot on February 26, around ten days after 40 CRPF soldiers were killed in a terror attack at Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir.
(With inputs from IANS)