How’s The JOSH?
Surgical Strikes 2.0 : Days after Pulwama attack, India on Tuesday (26 Feb 2019) carried out air strikes in Pakistan with top government sources saying that there were over 200 casualties from IAF strike. Reports say that terror launch pads across the LoC in Balakot, Chakothi and Muzaffarabad sectors have completely been destroyed along with JeM control rooms.
While officials in the air force refused to comment, saying that they have nothing to reply, sources told TPT that the force was targeting a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) hideout in Balakot sector with laser-guided bombs. Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level CCS meeting in New Delhi earlier today along with Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Arun Jaitley on the attack.
News agency ANI also quoted IAF sources as saying that the “attack” took place at 3:30 am when 12 Mirage 2000 fighter jets “struck a major terrorist camp across the LoC and completely destroyed it with 1,000 kg bombs.
The comment has come days after the Pulwama attack, where 40 CRPF personnel were killed. Pakistan-based terror outfit JeM had claimed responsibility for the attack. The incident had escalated tensions between the two neighbours, with New Delhi vowing to take stern action against Islamabad.
Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations Major-General Asif Ghafoor had tweeted saying that a “payload was released in haste, which fell near Balakot”. However, no casualties or damage was reported, he added.
Following the announcement, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi warned India not to challenge Pakistan.
In a statement Tuesday, Qureshi said better sense should prevail in India and that defenders of Pakistan were “fully prepared to respond to any misadventure.”
India’s account came hours after a spokesperson for the Pakistan Armed Forces tweeted that Indian military aircraft crossed into Pakistan airspace.
In the statement released Tuesday, India said “a very large number” of militants were “eliminated” in the airstrike operation. It believed the alleged camp was a military training facility headed by Maulana Yousuf Azhar, the brother-in-law of Masood Azhar — chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed.
India had previously claimed to have “incontrovertible evidence” that Pakistan had a “direct hand” in the Pulwama bomb attack. “It is a well-known fact that Jaish-e-Mohammed and its leader Masood Azhar are based in Pakistan. These should be sufficient proof for Pakistan to take action,” India’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted February 19.
Following the attack, India promised retaliation, including commercial and diplomatic steps to “isolate” Pakistan internationally.
Kashmir, a largely mountainous region located between India and Pakistan, has had a tumultuous history.
The region has been bitterly contested by both India and Pakistan following the partition of the two countries in 1947, leading to three wars and numerous other skirmishes.The February attack came more than two years after armed militants entered an Indian army base in the garrison town of Uri, about 63 miles (102 kilometers) from Srinagar — killing 18.
India later said it had used ground troops to strike terrorist targets across the LoC in response to the Uri attack – The Surgical Strike, something which Pakistan denied.
Days after February’s attack four Indian army personnel were killed in a gunfight with militants in the Pulwama district of Indian-administered Kashmir.
Separatist violence in the region has killed more than 47,000 people since 1989, although this toll doesn’t include people who have disappeared due to the conflict. Some human rights groups and non-governmental organisations put the death toll at twice that amount.