India today said its warplanes
launched a strike on militant camps in Pakistani territory that eliminated a “very large” number of jihadis amid media reports of 300 deaths in the
assault while Islamabad rejected the casualty claims.
Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale told a media conference that their preemptive strikes were carried out targeting militant camps when “a very large number of Jen Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen (suicide) action
“Credible intelligence was received that JeM was planning more suicide
attacks in India. In the face of imminent danger, a pre-emptive strike became absolutely necessary,” he said.
The top Indian foreign office bureaucrat added that the existence of such training facilities, “capable of training hundreds of jihadis could not have functioned without the knowledge of the Pakistani authorities”.
Gokhale did not quote any figure but international media quoting Indian
government sources said it 300 militants were killed.
India’s premier PTI news agency said the French-made India’s Mirage 2000
fighter jets pounded JeM terror camps in Balakot, Muzaffarabad and Chakoti of Pakistan in the well-planned predawn strike, carried out between 3:50 AM and 4:05 AM (IST).
Jem had claimed to have carried out a recent suicide attack in Indian-
controlled Kashmir territory killing 40 paramilitaries earlier this month
when New Delhi vowed to retaliate.
Islamabad rejected the Indian claim that it killed many militants in an air
strike, branding it “self serving, reckless and fictitious” but admitted
Indian warplanes breached its airspace and drop a payload over Balakot in the country’s northwest bordering India.
Pakistan claimed that its own warplanes had chased off the Indian aircraft, which had released their “payload” in a forested area, causing no casualties and no serious material damage.
International media reports and analysts said the Indian air assaults were the first launched across the line of control – the de facto border that
divides India-administered Kashmir from Pakistan-administered Kashmir – since 1971 war.