Indian Air Force (IAF) strike across the LoC came 2 weeks after Pulwama terror attack. (Representational)
Indian Air Force fighter jets struck the "biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad" in Balakot, the Centre said today. The strikes by the Indian Air Force (IAF) were carried out around 3:30 am by a dozen Mirage 2000 fighter jets.
The aircraft dropped 1,000 kg laser-guided bombs on terror training camps, completely destroying them, reports said.
"A large number of terrorists were eliminated... It was a non-military, pre-emptive strike," said Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale.
The IAF strikes come two week after the terror attack in Pulwama in which over 40 soldiers of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed by a suicide bomber of the Jaish-e-Mohammed.
The Jaish-e-Mohammed had claimed responsibility for the February 14 attack and had also posted videos of the bomber, who had joined the terror group a year ago. India had earlier in September 2016 carried out surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control in retaliation to an attack on an army base in Kashmir's Uri that month.
Here are highlights from Indian Air Force Strikes after Pulwama attack:
Surgical Strikes Hero Lt Gen DS Hooda On What Pak Could Do Next
Lt Gen DS Hooda (Retired) says he does not see Pakistan responding to the Indian Air Force strikes in Balakot with its full might. "I don't see it escalating to a full-blown war... I don't see any easy choices for Imran Khan that he is now going to escalate and this thing is going to spiral out of control," he said.
Last week, France said it will move a proposal at the United Nations in a "couple of days" to designate Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. This will be the second time France - a permanent member of the UN Security Council - will be party to such a proposal at the UN.
"Recognise India's legitimacy to ensure its security against cross-border terrorism": France
The statement by the acting spokesperson of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs says-
- France most firmly condemns the terrible attack perpetrated on 14 February 2019 against Indian security forces in Pulwama, for which the terrorist group, Jaish-e-Mohammed, has claimed responsibility.
- France recognises India's legitimacy to ensure its security against cross-border terrorism and asks Pakistan to put an end to the operations of terrorist groups established on its territory.
- France, which stands by India in the fight against terrorism in all its forms, is fully engaged in mobilising the international community to sanction the terrorists responsible for this attack and freezing their financing networks.
- France solemnly calls on India and Pakistan to exercise restraint so as to avert any risk of military escalation and preserve strategic stability in the region.
- The resumption of bilateral dialogue between Islamabad and New Delhi is necessary to initiate a peaceful settlement of differences.
RSS congratulates Govt, IAF for translating people's feeling into action
The RSS congratulated the government and the Indian Air Force for the pre-dawn air strikes on terror camps in Pakistan, saying they translated the the feelings and anger of millions of Indians.
Sushma Swaraj after the all party meeting, says that she is glad all leaders congratulated us for the surgical strikes and forgot all the political differences. Everybody all gave assurance to fight against terror.
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday after the all party meeting said, "We will continue to support our security forces to end terrorism from the country. The best thing about the operation was no civilian was killed."
Fight Not With Pak, Fight With Terror Establishment: Sushma Swaraj
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at the all party meeting says:
- Have spoken to US Secretary of state and many other foreign ministers.
- The fight is not with Pakistan, but with terror establishments.
EU urges 'maximum restraint' from India, Pak after air strike: AFP
The EU on Tuesday called on New Delhi and Islamabad to exercise "maximum restraint" after twelve Indian Air Force Mirage 2000-5 IN fighter jets crossed the Line of Control around 3.30 am and dropped 1,000 kg laser-guided bombs on the targets.
India carried out pre-dawn, pre-emptive air strikes across the Line of Control to target Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed, which was planning more attacks in the country after Pulwama, the government said today. Here's what we know:
Pictures of Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp in Balakot show a firing range, pool and a gym besides dormitories and training areas, official sources say.
Indian fighter jets destroyed the camp, flying across the Line of Control this morning.
Visuals of celebrations after India carried out the strikes in Balakot across the Line of Control (LoC) two weeks after the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama.
Visuals Of High alert at Wagah Border
Strict vigil at Wagah Border on a day when Indian Air Force jets targeted biggest Jaish terror camp across the Line of Control. High alert on at Ambala air base.
Australia Says Pak Must Take Urgent, Meaningful Action Against Terrorist Groups
The Australian press release states:
- 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.
Only PM Modi Could Deliver This, Says Yogi Adityanath On Air Force Strikes
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath praised the Indian Air Force's (IAF) action against Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist camp across the Line of Control. He added it was only under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership that this could be possible.
"Attack Due To Credible Information Received": Hans Castellanos, Dean of Diplomatic Corps
Dean of Diplomatic Corps, Hans Castellanos says, "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 direct attack due to credible intelligence received."
''Message has been sent to them'': Defence Experts Praise IAF's Strike
Various defence experts hailed the IAF's pre-dawn air strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed's terror camp in Pakistan with some saying "the message had been communicated strongly".
- Former Defence Minister AK Antony, said, "Pakistan should realise that they cannot stand the might of the Indian armed forces."
- Former Military Secretary Lt Gen (retd) Syed Ata Hasnain called the operation "an appropriate response (delivered) with a sense of proportionality".
PM Modi Has Shown ''56-Inch Chest'': Anil Vij On IAF Strike
Health Minister Anil Vij told the opposition members that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has shown his "56-inch chest". He said PM Modi has shown the whole world that terrorism cannot be tolerated and those who sponsor it will also be taught a lesson.
Actor-politician Kamal Haasan on IAF strike
"We have done what any self-respecting country would do. We are proud of what our forces have done for us. They are our shield, and they have behaved exactly like a shield. We are very proud. Salute to our fighters", says Kamal Haasan.
Prepared "For All Eventualities": Imran Khan To Pak As India Hits Jaish Camp
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan asks armed forces, citizens to "remain prepared for all eventualities" after India hits Jaish terror camp.
China urges India and Pakistan to "exercise restraint" after air strike, reports news agency AFP.
"We hope that both India and Pakistan can exercise restraint and adopt actions that will help stabilise the situation in the region and improve mutual relations," China's foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said, according to AFP.
Union Home Ministry Sources on Air Force Strikes:
- Balakot was an important training Center for the JeM and other terror organisations. It had several structures to accommodate terrorist trainees and facilities to train them. It was used for battle inoculation.
- Before the inception of JeM, the camp was also used by Hizb ul Mujahideen.
- Situated on Kunhar river, the camp offered possibility of aquatic training to terrorists also. The camp housed more than two hundred terrorists.
- Masood Azhar's relatives and cadres were trained at Balakot in advanced weapons and tactics.
- JeM gives immense importance to religious indoctrination and ideological brainwashing.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Churu, Rajasthan:
"I appeal to you all to salute all our soldiers today... I assure you all that the country is in safe hands," he says.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Churu, Rajasthan:
"I appeal to you all to salute all our soldiers today... I assure you all that the country is in safe hands," he says.
According to news agency ANI, diplomats from the USA, UK, Russia, Australia, Indonesia, Turkey and six Asean nations are being briefed by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale on Indian air strike across LoC in Balakot.
"The entire nation is with you Narendra Modi in this hour. We are all with you and you have our fullest support. Salutes to the Great Indian Air Force," says actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha.
Meanwhile, Bahujan Samaj Party's Mayawati said: "IAF strike destroying terrorist camps across LoC is welcome action. Salute and respect to their bravery. PM Modi gave free hand to army only after Pulwama attack. Had it been earlier Pathankot, Uri and Pulwama like tragedy and loss of precious lives of jawans could have been averted."
BJP chief Amit Shah says: "I congratulate and salute the bravery and valour of our armed forces. Today's action further demonstrates that India is safe and secure under the strong and decisive leadership of PM Narendra Modi."
Lt General DS Hooda (Retired), who was the Northern Army Commander during the Surgical Strike in 2016, tells news agency ANI: "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."
"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," he adds.
Top government sources say "approximately 300 terrorists" were killed in the Air Force strike at Balakot, around 80 km from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).
What we know about the IAF strike so far:
- Twelve Indian Air Force Mirage 2000 fighter jets crossed the Line of Control and dropped 1,000 kg laser-guided bombs on the targets.
- The first strike took place at 3:45 am, the second at 3:48 am and the third at 3:58 am, sources reported. The operation was over within 19 minutes.
- The strikes took place at the biggest Jaish training camp in Pakistan, led by Yusuf Azhar, the brother-in-law of Masood Azhar. The camp is on a hillock in Balakot.
- Different targets were hit within a large complex. The target was selected based on intelligence inputs, to strike terrorists and ensure that there were no civilian casualties.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says India has violated the LoC and Pakistan has a right to respond, according to news agency PTI.
"First, they committed aggression against Pakistan today. It is a violation of the LoC. I consider it a violation of the LoC, and Pakistan has right to give a suitable response in self defence," he said after an "emergency meeting" with high-level officials at the Foreign Office for consultations.
India to brief major world powers about today's air strikes.
National Security Agency (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 JeM terror camps in Balakot across Line of Control, according to news agency ANI.
What Political Leaders Said:
Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu says in the war of right and wrong, you cannot afford to be neutral.
Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik tweets: "Salute the #IndianAirForce for pre-dawn air strikes on terror camps in defence of our Nation. #JaiHind"
Chief Minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot says:
DMK chief MK Stalin has tweeted: "Proud of our #IndianAirForce pilots for their exceptional act of valor!"
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has called a meeting at 5pm today, inviting Opposition leaders at Jawahar Bhawan (Ministry Of External Affairs) to brief them on India's action against Pulwama attack.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi briefs President Ram Nath Kovind and vice-president Venkaiah Naidu after India carried out strikes across the Line of Control.
Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale: It was a non-military pre-emptive strike
"On February 14, 2019, a suicide terror attack was conducted by Jaish-e-Mohammad in Kashmir. The JeM has been active in Pakistan for the last two decades. This organisation (JeM) which has been proscribed by the United Nations has been responsible for a series of terror attacks including the attack on Parliament in 2001," says foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale.
"India has struck the biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad in Balakote. A large number of JeM terrorists were eliminated."
"India has given proof many times seeking action against JeM and others at terror camps so big, that they can train hundreds of terrorists at any given time. But due to Pakistan's inaction, this step was necessary and had to be taken."
He says credible intelligence was received that Jaish-e-Mohammed was attempting another suicide terror attack in the country and terrorists were being trained for this purpose.
The facility in Balakote was headed by Maulana Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghauri, brother-in-law of JeM chief Masood Azhar, he adds.
"It was a non-military pre-emptive strike."
"India is firmly and resolutely committed to taking all measures to fight the menace of terrorism. The selection of the target was conditioned to avoid civilian casualty. It (the camp) is located in a deep forest on a hilltop," he says.
Ministry of External Affairs to hold a briefing at 11:30am, according to Press Information Bureau.
"Necessary step (taken) by Air Force," says Union minister Prakash Javadekar after India's strike on terror camps over Line of Control. "PM (Narendra Modi) had given this freedom to the armed forces, and now the entire nation stands behind the armed forces."
Political Leaders React:
West Bengal Mamata Banerjee has tweeted: "IAF also means India's Amazing Fighters. Jai Hind."
Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar says: "Salute to #indianairforce for giving befitting reply to the terrorists..."
Former Chief Minister of New Delhi Sheila Dikshit tweets: "Salutes to our brave soldiers. We are proud of you. #airstrike"
Actor-turned politician and Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan says: "India is proud of its heroes. I salute their valour."
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu tweets: "Hail the efforts of Indian Air Force."
Meeting on cabinet committee on security, being chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, concludes.
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav on Twitter says: "We salute bravery of our pilots and Air Force. We are blessed and proud of our forces. Jai Hind."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is meeting with top ministers in the cabinet committee on security at his home in Delhi to take stock of the situation.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Minister of Defence Nirmala Sitharaman, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and other top officials of the government are attending the meeting.
Indian Air Force has put on high alert all air defence systems along the International Border and Line of Control, reports news agency ANI.
"I salute the bravery of Indian Air Force pilots who have made us proud..." tweets New Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, after India carried out strikes across the Line of Control.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Twitter says:
Balakot, Chakothi and Muzaffarabad terror launch pads across the LoC have been completely destroyed in the Indian Air Force strikes, news agency ANI reported, quoting sources.
Jaish-e-Mohammed control rooms also destroyed, the ANI report said.
Sources tell NDTV that the strikes were "100 per cent successful" and went on exactly as planned.
Jammu and Kashmir National Conference chief Omar Abdullah says if it is true, this was not a small strike by any stretch of imagination.
The aircraft dropped 1,000 kg laser-guided bombs on major terror camps across the Line of Control, completely destroying it, news agency ANI reported, quoting Air Force sources.
Jammu and Kashmir National Conference chief Omar Abdullah says: "The problem now becomes PM Imran Khan's commitment to his country - "Pakistan will not think about responding, Pakistan WILL respond". What shape will response take? Where will response be? Will India have to respond to Pakistan's response?"
The strikes comes amid heightened tension between India and Pakistan after the February 14 terror attack by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad that killed 40 CRPF soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district.