Islamabad: Pakistan`s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday summoned India`s Acting High Commissioner over the airstrikes carried out at the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror camp in Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan.
Pakistan`s Acting Foreign Secretary told Acting High Commissioner of India that Islamabad would give a "befitting response at a time and place of its choosing" to India`s action, according to a statement issued by the foreign ministry.
Sending out a huge message, India today carried out air strikes deep inside Pakistan, destroying a major camp of JeM and eliminating a “large number” of terrorists, including top commanders, of the terror group which attacked a CRPF convoy in Pulwama 12 days back.
In the swift operation, launched at around 3.30 am and completed within minutes, 12 Mirage-2000 fighter jets pounded the training centre, housing around 300 terrorists, in Balakot area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province with six bombs while SU-30 combat aircraft maintained air superiority to ward off any retaliation by the Pakistan Air Force, sources said.
The camp, located in a forest area atop a hill, was headed by JeM chief Masood Azhar’s brother-in-law Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Gauri, who was involved in the 1999 hijack of Indian Airlines plane IC-814 and was on Interpol lookout notice since 2000.
The casualty figure of the terrorists is very high as the JeM had shifted its entire cadre to this camp from the launching pads along the Line of Control (LoC), fearing surgical strike-type response from India in the aftermath of Pulwama attack, sources said about first such action by India.
A large number of Jaish terrorists, including top commanders, trainers and those terrorists who were to be the ‘fidayeen’ (suicide attackers) were eliminated in the “non-military” air strike, India`s Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale told the media while officially disclosing information about the air strike, hours after the action.
Gokhale said the “pre-emptive” strike by India had become absolutely necessary as there was credible information that JeM, which recently carried out terror attack in Pulwama, was planning further attacks in this country.