India Claims Killed Many Militants in the Strike
- Author: Jon Douglas Mar 03, 2019,
Mar 03, 2019, 1:13
"Pakistan will definitely respond to Indian aggression", Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi categorically announced while addressing media on Tuesday.
Though there is no official confirmation, sources indicated that Yosuf Azhar was killed in the strike along with 350 other terrorists.
India now has around three squadrons of Mirage 2000 fighter jets manufactured by French aerospace major Dassault Aviation.
India's Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said the raid was launched on a camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) - the group that claimed the Kashmir bombing - because New Delhi believed suicide attacks in India were "imminent".
Tensions in the contested region have run high for weeks ever since a suicide auto bombing of Indian military police killed 40. "The explosives that were employed were being used by the administration and security forces in occupied Kashmir, it didn't go there from Pakistan", Maj Gen Ghafoor said.
India said its warplanes struck a militant training camp inside Pakistan on Tuesday and killed "a very large number" of fighters, raising the risk of conflict between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan presided over the meeting in Islamabad which lasted more than three hours.
He said there were no casualties and refused to discuss India's incursion into Pakistan.
Since then, rhetoric between Islamabad and New Delhi has been steadily escalating. "No casualties or damage". It was the deadliest attack on Indian forces in Kashmir for decades. "Both India and Pakistan can exercise restraint and take actions that will help stabilize the situation in the region and help to improve mutual relations", Lu added.
"I salute the pilots of the IAF", Rahul Gandhi, leader of India's main opposition Congress, said in a tweet.
He said existing confidence-building measures between India and Pakistan should be activated.
"We saw fallen trees and one damaged house, and four craters where the bombs had fallen", said Mohammad Ajmal, a 25-year-old who visited the site.
Pakistan has long denied India's allegation of giving support and shelter to militant groups that target Kashmir.
He said "facing timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force", the Indian aircraft "released payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot".
India accuses Pakistan of sheltering and supporting groups like Jaish-e-Muhammad.
Shedding light on the timeline of Indian Air force's misadventure, the minister informed, "At 2:55AM Indian jets intruded the Pakistani airspace and at 2:58AM they [were driven out] of our airspace".
Since 1989, rebels have been fighting against Indian control in Kashmir.