India strikes; “Intelligence-led, non-military, pre-emptive action”

The MEA has, in as clear words as possible, called the strike on Jaish-e-Mohammed’s (JeM) biggest training camp in Balakot, Pakistan, as “Intelligence-led, non-military, pre-emptive action”. The briefing was given by Foreign Secretary VK Gokhale . He also said that a large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, and senior commanders were eliminated. “The camp was led by Maulana Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghauri, the brother-in-law of JeM chief Masood Azhar” He added

“Credible intelligence was received that JeM was attempting another suicide terror attack in various parts of the country, and the fidayeen jihadis were being trained for this purpose. In the face of imminent danger, a pre-emptive strike became absolutely necessary,” Foreign Secretary Gokhale said.

“The selection of the target was also conditioned by our desire to avoid civilian casualties. The facility is located in thick forest on a hilltop far away from any civilian presence. As the strike has taken place only a short while ago, we are awaiting further details,” VK Gokhale said.

“The government of Pakistan had made a solemn commitment in January 2004 not to allow its soil or territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India. We expect that Pakistan lives up to its public commitment and takes follow up actions to dismantle all JeM and other camps and hold the terrorists accountable for the actions.”

Jaish, Gokhale asserted, was the terror group active in Pakistan for the last two decades, led by Maulana Masood Azhar, whose headquarters are based in Bahawalpur, Punjab province. “This organisation proscribed by UN, has been responsible for a series of terror attacks – the 2001 Parliament attack, the January 2016 Pathankot attack.”​

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan reserved the right to respond.

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