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IAF air strike Highlights: US asks Pakistan to act against terrorist groups operating on its soil

IAF Surgical Strike on Pakistan: By striking terrorist camps about 80 km away from the Line of Control in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, India chose “non-military” targets, the JeM-run terror camps, and justified the strikes as “pre-emptive” since terrorists, Delhi said, were plotting another attack.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: February 28, 2019 12:23:14 pm
IAF surgical strike LIVE Updates: Govt briefs oppn leaders, Cong says will support security forces to end terrorism IAF surgical strike Highlights: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj interacts with Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad at an all-party meeting after IAF’s pre-dawn strike on JeM camp. (PTI Photo)

IAF Surgical Strike LIVE Updates: Less than a fortnight after one of the worst terror attacks on CRPF jawans in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama in the last three decades of militancy, India on Tuesday conducted air strikes deep inside Pakistan, the first time after the 1971 war that it has hit targets in that country. The NDA government announced that India had struck the “biggest training camp” of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday, in which “a very large number” of JeM terrorists and their trainers were “eliminated”. With this, the government effectively drew a new red line in its strategic calculus with Pakistan.

By striking terrorist camps about 80 km away from the Line of Control in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, India chose “non-military” targets, the Jaish-e-Mohammed-run terror camps, and justified the strikes as “pre-emptive” since terrorists, Delhi said, were plotting another attack.

On Wednesday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the objective was to act against a terror camp and that India doesn’t wish to see a further escalation. In her opening remarks during her bilateral meeting with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, Swaraj said after Pakistan “refused to acknowledge and act against terror camps, the Indian government decided to take preemptive action.”

Meanwhile, five Pakistani posts were destroyed as the Indian Army retaliated to unprovoked cross border heavy shelling and firing of missiles late Tuesday night. Defence Ministry Spokesperson Lt Colonel Devender Anand said the firing resulted in several casualties on the Pakistani side.

Live Blog

IAF surgical strike Balakot, Pakistan: Get the highlights on reactions from India and Pakistan following an air strike on JeM terror camp. Read in Tamil | Malayalam | Bangla

13:06 (IST)27 Feb 2019
BSE loses 200 points, investor sentiment takes a hit: Report

The BSE Sensex was down by over 200 points in afternoon trade Wednesday on widespread selling after Pakistani fighter jets violated Indian air space in Jammu and Kashmir, according to news agency PTI. 

After dropping 238 points, the Sensex was trading 161.74 points, or 0.46 per cent, down at 35,811.97 after hitting a low of 35,735.33. The gauge rallied nearly 400 points in morning trade.

The 50-share Nifty also fell 62.55 points, or 0.58 per cent, to 10,772.75.

According to PTI, investor sentiment took a beating after Pakistan claimed that it shot down two Indian military aircraft over Pakistani air space and arrested one of the pilots.

12:52 (IST)27 Feb 2019
Pakistan claims it undertook airstrikes across LoC

Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a statement claiming they undertook airstrikes across the LoC from Pakistani airspace. "Sole purpose of this action was to demonstrate our right, will and capability for self defence. We do not wish to escalate but are fully prepared if forced into that paradigm," MoFA spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal tweeted.

12:27 (IST)27 Feb 2019
Two bodies recovered from site of crash, confirms SSP Budgam

SSP Budgam tells news agency ANI that they have recovered two bodies from the chopper crash in Budgam but he isn't in a position to ascertain anything. "Technical team is here, they'll ascertain facts. We have found two bodies so far and have evacuated them. Search is going on here," he said. 

Read more about the crash here

12:09 (IST)27 Feb 2019
Doval arrives at MHA office in Delhi

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval arrives at the Home Ministry in Delhi. 

11:39 (IST)27 Feb 2019
Pakistan violates Indian airspace in J&K's Rajouri, security tightened: Reports

A day after India struck a terror camp in Balakot, Pakistan Wednesday violated Indian air space in the Nowshera sector of Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district and in Poonch, but were pushed back by Indian aircraft, news agency PTI reported. There has been no official confirmation as yet. "The jets entered into Indian air space over Nowshera sector this morning,” an official told PTI. They were immediately pushed back by Indian jets on air patrol. Read More

11:31 (IST)27 Feb 2019
Balakot: A 6-acre training camp for 600 terror recruits, run by Masood Azhar’s kin

The expectation of the Pakistani establishment that the Jaish-e-Mohammed’s headquarters in Bahawalpur would be the obvious target of the Indian retaliation for the Pulwama terrorist attack, led to a large number of Jaish cadre being “congregated” at the organisation’s main training centre in Balakot, top security officials have told The Indian Express. Read More

Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. (AP Photo)
11:28 (IST)27 Feb 2019
‘Ex-officers of Pakistan Army trained terrorists at Balakot camp’

The Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror camp in Balakot, destroyed by the Indian Air Force on Tuesday, was located on the banks of the Kunhar river in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan and have also been used by the Hizbul Mujahideen terror outfit, sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs said. The camp offered the possibility of aquatic training to terrorists and housed hundreds of operatives, sources said. It was an important training centre for the JeM and other terror organisations and it had several structures to accommodate trainees and facilities to train them. Read More

Pakistani reporters and troops visit the site of the Indian airstrike in Jabha, near Balakot, Pakistan, on Tuesday. (AP)
11:23 (IST)27 Feb 2019
Two JeM terrorists killed in encounter in Shopian

Two Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists were killed in an encounter in Shopian on Wednesday. Arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of the encounter, officials told The Indian Express.

11:21 (IST)27 Feb 2019
Explained: Why Balakot is a watershed

First, Tuesday’s airstrikes by the Indian Air Force establishes a new threshold between the two nuclear neighbours for an Indian response to a terror attack. So far, India has either chosen to put diplomatic pressure on Pakistan (after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack), mobilise its armed forces (after the 2001 Parliament attack) or conducted limited ground-based operations (after the 2016 Uri attack) but has never used the Air Force, that too inside Pakistan. Read More

10:16 (IST)27 Feb 2019
US asks Pakistan to take 'meaningful action' against terrorist groups

The United States Wednesday urged India and Pakistan to exercise restraint and avoid military action as tension escalated between the neighbours after India launched a “pre-emptive non-military strike” at a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp on Pakistani soil Tuesday. In a statement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “Following Indian counter-terrorism actions on February 26, I spoke with Indian Minister of External Affairs (Sushma) Swaraj to emphasise our close security partnership and shared goal of maintaining peace and security in the region. I also spoke to Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to underscore the priority of de-escalating current tensions by avoiding military action and the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action against terrorist groups operating on its soil.” Read More

09:12 (IST)27 Feb 2019
Balakot strike was against terror camp, don’t wish to see escalation: Sushma Swaraj

A day after India conducted air strikes in Pakistan’s Balakot, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj Wednesday said the objective was to act against a terror camp and that India doesn’t wish to see a further escalation. In her opening remarks during her bilateral meeting with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, Swaraj said after Pakistan “refused to acknowledge and act against terror camps, the Indian government decided to take preemptive action.” Read More

08:49 (IST)27 Feb 2019
India responds to unprovoked firing along LoC, five Pakistani posts destroyed

Five Pakistani posts were destroyed as the Indian Army retaliated to unprovoked cross border heavy shelling and firing of missiles late Tuesday night. Defence Ministry Spokesperson Lt Colonel Devender Anand said the firing resulted in several casualties on the Pakistani side. Pakistan initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation by “shelling with heavy calibre weapons at 12 to 15 places along the Line of Control” from 6.30 pm onwards. Pakistani troops were also seen “firing mortars and missiles from civilian houses using villagers as human shields”, Lt Col Anand added. Read More

07:52 (IST)27 Feb 2019
Balakot: A 6-acre training camp for 600 terror recruits, run by Masood Azhar’s kin

The expectation of the Pakistani establishment that the Jaish-e-Mohammed’s headquarters in Bahawalpur would be the obvious target of the Indian retaliation for the Pulwama terrorist attack, led to a large number of Jaish cadre being “congregated” at the organisation’s main training centre in Balakot, top security officials have told The Indian Express. Read More

Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. (AP)
07:48 (IST)27 Feb 2019
Mirage, Awacs, Sukhoi, Popeye: How IAF took down Jaish training camp

While the Indian Air Force was deployed during the 1999 Kargil conflict, Tuesday was the first time after the 1971 war that it fired on targets inside Pakistan. Although the entire operation, said to have got political clearance last week, lasted less than an hour and there was only one target, the risks were high and pressure for guaranteed success was huge. Read More

07:47 (IST)27 Feb 2019
India called the air strike a “non-military pre-emptive action”

At 11.30 am on Tuesday, about six hours after Pakistan Army’s spokesperson first broke the news of a “Line of Control violation by the Indian Air Force,” the government confirmed that India had struck the Jaish camp in the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday in what it called a “non-military pre-emptive action”.

07:45 (IST)27 Feb 2019
Delhi said terrorists were plotting another attack

By striking terrorist camps about 80 km away from the Line of Control in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, India chose “non-military” targets, the Jaish-e-Mohammed-run terror camps, and justified the strikes as “pre-emptive” since terrorists, Delhi said, were plotting another attack.

07:43 (IST)27 Feb 2019
India strikes terror, deep in Pakistan: Next step, diplomatic outreach

Less than a fortnight after the single bloodiest attack in Jammu and Kashmir in the last three decades of militancy, India on Tuesday conducted air strikes deep inside Pakistan, the first time after the 1971 war that it has hit targets in the country. Announcing that India had struck the “biggest training camp” of the Jaish-e-Mohammad in Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday, in which “a very large number” of JeM terrorists and their trainers were “eliminated”, the NDA government, effectively, drew a new red line in its strategic calculus with Pakistan. Read More

19:18 (IST)26 Feb 2019
Sushma Swaraj speaks after all-party meet
19:17 (IST)26 Feb 2019
Will support security forces in endeavour to end terrorism: Cong after all-party meeting

Leaders of different political parties on Tuesday congratulated the Indian Air Force at an all-party meeting on operation targeting a terrorist camp in Pakistan, with the Congress saying that it will support security forces in their endeavour to finish terrorism coming into India from outside. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj briefed the leaders, who included CPI(M)'s Sitaram Yechury, TMC's Derek O'Brian, Omar Abdullah of National Conference and Bhartruhari Mahtab from BJD, on the air strike carried out in the early hours. PTI

19:15 (IST)26 Feb 2019
Happy that all parties in one voice praised the security forces: Sushma Swaraj

After the all-party meeting, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said she expressed her happiness that all parties in one voice praised the security forces and supported the government's anti-terror operations.

IAF Air Strike in Balakot, Pakistan: India early this morning conducted precision strikes on a JeM terror camp destroying it an eliminating "a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen."

Gokhale said India has repeatedly provided to Pakistan information regarding the location of training camps in Pakistan and PoJK. Pakistan, however, denies their existence. "The existence of such massive training facilities capable of training hundreds of jidhadis could not have functioned without the knowledge of Pakistan authorities," he said.

Following the strikes this morning, the Prime Minister-led Cabinet Committee on Security met at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg, following which Gokhale addressed the media.

Describing today’s strike as “non-military, preemptive action”, Gokhale said the terror camp in Balakot was chosen as the target since it was far away from civilian presence. “As the strike has taken place only a short while ago, we are awaiting further details,” Gokhale said.

Sources told The Indian Express that JeM terror camp was deep inside Pakistan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The MEA, however, only confirmed that the camp was located in a thick forest on a hilltop, far away from any civilian presence.\

Further, the MEA said it used “preemptive action” but did not state whether it was an IAF or Army operation. According to news agency ANI, a squadron of 12 IAF Mirage aircraft flew across LoC and dropped 1000 kg bombs. But Gokhale gave no details on the same.

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