Opposition adds air strike to meet agenda

by Garry Watts February 27, 2019, 0:57
Opposition adds air strike to meet agenda

Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said "a very large number" of JeM rebels were killed, without specifying any number.

The bombing came in response to a deadly attack by Jaish-e-Mohammad on February 16 in the Pulwama district of Kashmir.

It is worth mentioning that JeM carried out a ghastly terror attack on CRPF convoy in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14 in which 40 security personnel were killed and five injured.

Tuesday's strike will not only boost Mr Modi's campaign in the election due by May, political analysts said, but also take the spotlight off economic issues for which the BJP has felt the heat.

Balakot police chief Saghir Hussain Shah told the Associated Press that the bombs had been dropped on a sparsely populated forest area.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has already authorised the military to take on India, convened a meeting for Wednesday of the National Command Authority, which oversees command and control of the country's nuclear arsenal.

Pakistani jets were scrambled, forcing the Indian Air Force to leave Pakistani airspace.

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Military planes could be heard over Srinagar, the capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir, throughout Monday night and Tuesday morning. In the attack, a large number of JeM terrorists, leadership and suicide bombers were eliminated, he said.

Indian media started thumping chest soon after Delhi claimed that Indian Air Force (IAF) jets had struck what it called the biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militant group in Balakot area of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in a pre-dawn air strike, flattening the compound and killing 350 so-called terrorists.

Insurgents have been demanding either outright independence or union with Pakistan. Gen Asif Ghafoor, said the Indian "aircrafts" crossed into the Muzafarabad sector of Kashmir, which is split between the two countries but claimed by each in its entirety.

Secondary reports citing unnamed official Indian sources have noted that targets outside of the camp at Balakot were targeted too. The Himalayan territory is divided between the two countries and has triggered two of their three wars.

Muhammad Amir Rana, a security analyst and executive director of the Islamabad-based Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, urged the global community to move quickly to de-escalate tensions.

Qureshi warned India not to challenge Pakistan and said "better sense should prevail in India", according to a statement cited by state-run Radio Pakistan. He also said the leaders appreciated the efforts of the forces and they always have their support to end terrorism.

After the airstrike, Lt. Col. Devender Anand, an Indian army spokesman, said Pakistani soldiers attacked Indian positions along the boundary in Kashmir, the so-called Line of Control. "We will shut them and let the people of Pakistan and the world know", he said.

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