- "Promise to Mother India, I will not let your head be bowed": PM Modi
- India carried out "non-military, pre-emptive air strikes" to target Jaish
- 12 Mirage 2000 jets dropped 1,000 kg bombs on a vast camp at Balakot
Hours after the government confirmed India's air strikes on terror targets across the Line of Control, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at a rally in Rajasthan's Churu, "I assure you, the country is in safe hands. There is nothing above the nation."
PM Modi also said, "My soul says, today is the day to reiterate what I had expressed in 2014. I pledge on this soil, I will not let the country die, I will not let the country stop, I will not let the country bend. It is my promise to Mother India, I will not let your head be bowed. I salute our armed forces, I salute all fellow Indians, your Pradhan Sevak bows to you."
Before daybreak on Tuesday, India carried out "non-military, pre-emptive air strikes" across the Line of Control to target the largest terror camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, which, the government said, was planning more attacks in the country after the February 14 terror attack in Pulwama in which 40 soldiers were killed.
IC-814 hijacker Yousuf Azhar, the brother-in-law of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, was among some 300 terrorists killed, say sources, in the swift and precise Indian Air Force strike at around 3.30 am.
Twelve Mirage 2000 fighter jets dropped 1,000-kg bombs on a vast camp at Balakot, which was the hub of training for suicide attackers. The camp, nestled in thick forests, was around 80 km from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
The government said it was a covert operation that was meant to target terrorists and avoid any civilian casualties. The action has received strong support from political parties and former generals.
"Today, I sense fervour in the crowd," said the Prime Minister, addressing a gathering that included many ex-servicemen, hours after he was briefed about the strikes at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security. "Today, the world is watching India's power... You are seeing it definitely," he said. "Repeat with me, Bharat Mata ki Jai," he shouted, the crowd cheering heartily in return.
"The reason I am able to work like this is because of your support, your trust... and let me tell you this... that we are a government that thinks a party is bigger than an individual, and the nation is bigger than any party," said PM Modi, wearing a traditional safa or headgear.
(With inputs from Agencies)