The apparent strike took place in the early hours of Tuesday morning, and came in response to what India said was “credible intelligence” about potential terrorist attacks, India’s foreign secretary, Vijay Gokhale told reporters in New Delhi, Tuesday.
Gokhale said the alleged camp was run by Jaish-e-Mohammed, the group India blames for a suicide car bomb attack
in Pulwama in Indian administered Kashmir that killed 40 Indian paramilitary soldiers on 14 February.
It was the worst attack on Indian forces since the beginning of an insurgency in the region in the late 1980s, according to analysts.
Following the announcement, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi warned India not to challenge Pakistan.
In a statement Tuesday, Qureshi said better sense should prevail in India and that defenders of Pakistan were “fully prepared to respond to any misadventure.”
India’s account came hours after a spokesperson for the Pakistan Armed Forces tweeted that Indian military aircraft crossed into Pakistan airspace, but were driven back.
Pakistan Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor alleged that Indian jets crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and were pushed back by Pakistan Air Force jets that were “scrambled” to the scene.
“Indian (aircraft) intruded from Muzafarabad sector. Facing timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force released payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot,” said Ghafoor, in a statement posted on his official Twitter account.
that there were no casualties, nor any damage to Pakistani property or military assets reported in the incident.
In the statement released Tuesday, India said “a very large number” of militants were “eliminated” in the airstrike operation. It believed the alleged camp was a military training facility headed by Maulana Yousuf Azhar, the brother-in-law of Masood Azhar — chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed.
India had previously claimed to have “incontrovertible evidence” that Pakistan had a “direct hand” in the Pulwama bomb attack. “It is a well-known fact that Jaish-e-Mohammed and its leader Masood Azhar are based in Pakistan. These should be sufficient proof for Pakistan to take action,” India’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted February 19.
Following the attack, India promised retaliation, including commercial and diplomatic steps to “isolate” Pakistan internationally.
Pakistan has vehemently denied
having a role in the attacks.
Kashmir, a largely mountainous region located between India and Pakistan, has had a tumultuous history.
The region has been bitterly contested by both India and Pakistan following the partition of the two countries in 1947, leading to three wars and numerous other skirmishes.
The February attack came more than two years after armed militants entered
an Indian army base in the garrison town of Uri, about 63 miles (102 kilometers) from Srinagar — killing 18.
India later said it had used ground troops to strike terrorist targets across the LoC in response to the Uri attack, something which Pakistan denied.
Days after February’s attack four Indian army personnel were killed
in a gunfight with militants in the Pulwama district of Indian-administered Kashmir.
Separatist violence in the region has killed more than 47,000 people since 1989, although this toll doesn’t include people who have disappeared due to the conflict. Some human rights groups and nongovernmental organizations put the death toll at twice that amount.