NEWS / ATTACKS
UPDATE: 11.25hours: CCS meet ends… finance minister Arun Jaitley to address media shortly. PM Modi reaches Rashtrapati Bhavan to brief President Ramnath Kovind and also attend the Gandhi Peace Foundation Award distribution ceremony there.
NOTHING MUCH HAPPENED, CLAIMS PAKISTAN
NEW DELHI: Twelve days after Pulwama, India hit back — and with vehemence– attacking terrorist installations deep inside Pakistan by deploying 12 Mirage-200 fighter jets and raining down over 1,000kg of bombs around 3.30am Tuesday. The Mirage 200 fighter jets flew back to safety immediately after the attack. The attacks were ordered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Multiple areas were targeted in the attack. The operations lasted 20 minutes.
Official sources said Jaish e Mohammed’s biggest terror camp was among those decimated in the attacks. Its control rooms were also destroyed. The Pulwama attack took place on February 14.
The fighter jets took off from five military air bases in tandem and flew 50km inside Pakistan, while the military authorities in Pakistan were caught napping of bewildered. The hits were done in Balakot area. First reports said laser-guided missiles were rained down from the 12 Mirage 200 fighter jets.
Pakistan has acknowledged the air attack and Prime Minister Imran Khan is huddled into talks with senior military and civil officials as also political leaders.
The Indian response came days after the Prime Minister said Pakistan will not escape retribution for the Pulwama terrorist attack in which over 40 CRPF personnel were killed by a suicide bomber of the Jaish e Mohammed terror group.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) this morning to take stock of the situation. Senior ministers as also National Security Adviser Ajit Doval attended the meet.
In an immediate response, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said, “I salute the pilots of the Indian Air Force,” a clear signal that the principal opposition is one with the government in the matter of giving an adequate response to Pakistan in the aftermath of Pulwama. At the same time, the party’s stress on IAF was also intended to minimize the credit that PM Modi should get for the attack. Notably, an all-party meeting had a week ago given PM Modi the go-ahead to take suitable retaliatory action. The RSS too had said a strong response, tit-for-tat, was needed.
National Security Adiviser Ajit Doval briefed the PM on the way things progressed, in a meeting immediately after the attack.
The operations ended in 20 minutes as planned, and the news was revealed in New Delhi a little before 8am.
It was not clear whether there were any civilian casualties other than that of terrorist gangs. Likely, others too were hit. India did the attack after it got information that some 300 to 500 terrorists were holed up in the areas.
The Indian Army had conducted a Surgical operation across the LoC, on September 29, 2016, after Pakistan-trained terrorists attacked the Uri military camp. About 30 terrorists and some Pakistani soldiers protecting them were killed in that attack.
MIRAGE 200 HITS on TUESDAY: This was the first time IAF fighter jets crossed the LoC into Pakistani territory after the 1971 war.
WHAT PAKISTAN SAYS: “IAF jets violated LoC. Pakistan air force immediately scrambled..IAF aircrafts gone back. IAF intruded from Muzafarabad sector. Facing timely and effective response from Pakistan, IAF released payload in haste while escaping, which fell near Balakot. No casualties or damage…” This was how the spokesperson for Pakistan Air Force, Major General Asif Ghafoor tweeted around 7.06am.
HOW IAF DID IT: Lt Gen DS Hooda (retd), the commanding officer of the Northern Army Command who oversaw the much-lauded surgical strikes in 2016, was quoted by CNN-News18 as saying,”The IAF must have planned it well, selected routes, used sophisticated jammers. “IAF is much superior to Pakistan as far as technology is concerned.”
|Cabinet Committee on Security meets with PM in the chair Tuesday morning.|