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Surgical strike 2.0: Everything you need to know

Tuesday, February 26, 2019 • Tamil Comments
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In an overnight operation following the February 14 Pulwama attack that claimed the lives of over 40 CRPF personnel due to a suicide bombing by a Jaish-e-Mohammed militant, India has struck the biggest training camp of the Pakistan based terror group in Balakot, eliminating at least 325 terrorists and 25 trainees.

The strike happened across the Line of Control and the whole exercise took 19 minutes. The first strike took place at 3:45 am, the second at 3:48 am and the third at 3:58 am, according to reports. 12 Mirage 2000 Indian fighter jets entered Pakistan at 3 am on the morning of February 26th, dropping 1000 kg explosives near the Jaish camp in Balakot. All IAF bases have been put on maximum alert post the Pulwama attack.

The first surgical strike by India was announced on September 29, 2016, following the Uri attack that destroyed 19 Indian soldiers. Foreign secretary Vijay Ghokhale stated that today’s pre-emptive strike was necessary as JeM was attempting more suicide attacks. He said, “India has given proof many times seeking action against JeM and others at terror camps so big, that they can train hundreds of terrorists at any given time. But due to Pakistan's inaction, this step was necessary and had to be taken.”

The brother-in-law of JeM chief Masood Azhar, Maulana Yusuf Azhar, was reportedly in charge of the camp where more suicide bombers were preparing to strike attacks on India. Ghokhale added that the target of the attack was conditioned by India’s desire to avoid civilian casualties.

Pakistan’s Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations, Major General Asif Ghafoor, was the first to report of the IAF operation. “Indian aircrafts intruded from Muzafarabad sector. Facing timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force released payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot. No casualties or damage,” he posted a tweet.

Jammu and Kashmir National Conference chief Omar Abdullah said, “The problem now becomes PM Imran Khan’s commitment to his country – “Pakistan will not think about responding, Pakistan WILL respond.” What shape will response take? Where will response be? Will India have to respond to Pakistan’s response?”

Shedding light on the situation, a cabinet meeting with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Minister of Defence Nirmala Sitharaman, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and other top officials of the government, was held at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home late in the morning.

Political leaders across the country, saluting the IAF, reacted –

“I salute the pilots of the IAF” – Congress President Rahul Gandhi

“I salute the bravery of the Indian Air Force pilots who have made us proud.” – New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

“IAF also means India's Amazing Fighters. Jai Hind.” – West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

“Salute to #indianairforce for giving befitting reply to the terrorists.” – National Congress Party Chief Sharad Pawar.

“Salutes to our brave soldiers. We are proud of you.” – Former New Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

“India is proud of its heroes. I salute their valour.” – Makkal Needhi Maiam Chief Kamal Haasan.

“Hail the efforts of Indian Air Force.” – Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.

“Proud of our #IndianAirForce pilots for their exceptional act of valor!”- DMK Chief MK Stalin.

“Congratulations to #IndianAirForce pilots. I Salute your bravery. The Nation is proud of you. Jai Hind.” – Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.

“Salute the #IndianAirForce for pre-dawn air strikes on terror camps in defence of our Nation. #JaiHind.” - Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

“I congratulate and salute the bravery and valour of our armed forces. Today's action further demonstrates that India is safe and secure under the strong and decisive leadership of PM Narendra Modi.” – BJP Chief Amit Shah.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi stated that India had violated the LoC and Pakistan had a right to respond. “First, they committed aggression against Pakistan today. It is a violation of the LoC. I consider it a violation of the LoC, and Pakistan has right to give a suitable response in self defence,” he was quoted saying after an “emergency meeting” at the Foreign Office for consultations with high-level officials.

Imran Khan says Pakistan will respond to India’s aggression –

At a special meeting of the National Security Committee, Pakistan PM Imran Khan stated that India has committed an uncalled for aggression and that Pakistan would respond to it “at the time and place of its choosing.”

Qureshi accuses Modi of indulging in “misadventure” because of elections –

In the press conference, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister said that Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s earlier statement had commitment and that they had the right to retaliate and safe guard their country now. He further went on to accuse Modi of choosing the time of elections to indulge in the misadventure, claiming that bashing Pakistan was the best way to gain votes. Qureshi added that Pakistan had already warned foreign dignitaries of such a possible act by the Modi government.

(to be updated)

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