Little more than a week after the Pulwama terrorist attack, the Indian military establishment gave a resounding response early Tuesday morning. 12 Mirage-2000 fighter jets of the Indian Air Force reportedly crossed into Pakistani airspace and carried out a series of bombings on terror launch pads, with government sources claiming that there were over 200 casualties as a result. Reports say that terror launch pads across the Line of Control in Balakot, Chakothi and Muzaffarabad sectors have been devastated, along with JeM control rooms.Sources told CNN-News18 that the force was targeting a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) hideout in Balakot sector with laser-guided bombs.
But Pakistan says the airstrike did not damage anything on the Pakistani soil. Pakistan Army confirmed that Indian fighter jets dropped “four bombs” during an operation on Tuesday but downplayed its significance, saying the Indian attack was repulsed and while going back to the aircraft “jettisoned their payload.” Army spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor also said that Pakistan will “surprise” India with its response that will be in all domains including “diplomatic, political and military”.
Earlier in the day, in a series of tweets, Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations, Major General Asif Ghafoor, claimed that no infrastructure was damaged and the payload of the “hastily escaping Indian aircrafts fell in open”. He also claimed that the Indian aircraft only managed to get into three-four miles of the Pakistani territory.
Major General Asif Ghafoor, also warned India of an escalated response. “It is your turn now. Get ready to be surprised,” he said. In a veiled threat, he said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has called a meeting of National Command Authority, which oversees the nation’s nuclear weapons programme. He added “please understand what NCA means”.He also denied that IAF jets were present inside the Pakistani airspace for 21 minutes during the operation today.
Meanwhile, politicians from a cross-section of national and regional parties have come together to salute the armed forces and the surgical strike. From Congress leaders like Rahul Gandhi and Shashi Tharoor to Samajwadi Party hegemon Akhilesh Yadav to AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal, the social media handles of politicians of all stripes have hailed the development. And of course, there was a Border meme, posted by AAP’s Twitter handle.News agency ANI reported, Vijay Maurya’s brother said, “we are very happy that this (IAF strikes on JeM camp across LoC) happened. But we want pressure on Pakistan to be kept up so that no terror organisation like JeM dares to attack us again.”