SRINAGAR — India has carried out a pre-dawn strike on a militant camp across the Line of Control, reports said soon after Pakistan Army claimed that Indian fighter jets were forced to leave after they crossed the LoC in Muzaffarabad sector.
The strike was carried out at around 3:30 this morning by 12 Mirage 2000 fighter jets. The aircraft dropped 1,000 kg laser-guided bombs on a major militant camp across the Line of Control, completely destroying it, news agency ANI reported, quoting Air Force sources.
Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale said a pre-emptive strike was carried out by India on a training camp of Jaish-e-Muhammad militant outfit in Balakote across the Line of Control (LoC).
He said that they had credible inputs that Jaish was planning more attacks in the aftermath of Pulwama attack that left 40 CRPF troopers dead on February 14.
“Credible information was received that JeM was attempting more attacks in the country. A pre-emptive strike became important. India struck the biggest camp of JeM headed by Maulana Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghauri, brother-in-law of JeM Chief Masood Azhar in Balakot,” he told reporters during a briefing in New Delhi.
“In this operation, a very large number of JeM cadres, trainers, senior commander and Jihadis were eliminated,” he added.
Earlier, Pakistan Army claimed that the Indian military planes “intruded” from the Muzaffarabad sector but were forced to go back after Pakistan Air Force “immediately scrambled”.
Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations Major-General, Asif Ghafoor, said in a tweet: “Indian Air Force violated Line of Control, following which Pakistan Air Force immediately scrambled and Indian aircraft went back.”
In another tweet, Ghafoor said that the aircraft faced “timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force” and ended up releasing “payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot”.
No casualties or damage occurred, the military spokesman said.
Ghafoor also tweeted “pictures” of the spot where the payload hit.
Tensions between India and Pakistan have heightened since an attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama on February 14 that killed 40 troopers.