Following the surgical strike across the Line of Control in Pakistan on Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale has now briefed foreign diplomats from the USA, UK, Russia, Australia, Indonesia, Turkey and six ASEAN nations. More than 10 bombs were dropped by the multi-role fighter jet Mirage 2000 at around 3:30 am. The aerial attack comes a day after Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held a high-level meeting with all three service chiefs.
The attack was confirmed by the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi. In a brief statement issued to media, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale spoke about ‘intelligence operation.’ “In an intelligence lead 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,” Gokhale said. “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,” Gokhale added.
The airstrikes are seen as a way by India avenging the Pulwama terror attack. On February 14, around 40 CRPF personnel were killed when a suicide bomber rammed into a convoy while moving from Jammu to Srinagar in Lethpora area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Pakistan based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed the responsibility of the attack.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said: “We kept on telling the world that this could happen… they [India] carried out aggression against Pakistan today. India violated the LoC [today]. Pakistan holds the right to self-defence and a befitting response,” Qureshi told media, after chairing an emergency consultative meeting at the Foreign Office. The meeting at the Foreign Office was attended by former foreign secretaries and senior diplomats and held consultations over the prevailing situation.
Defence experts say that Mirages would have used 500 kg laser-guided bombs. The Mirage 2000s may have used Israeli lightening laser designator pods to drop their precision bombs. Though Pakistan has tweeted the photos of large craters, the actual impact of the airstrike will be revealed by the satellite images.