Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale on Tuesday confirmed that India “struck the biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot.”
In a live press conference, he confirmed and described that in an intelligence led operation in the early hours of Tuesday, the Indian Air Force struck the biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad in Balakot.
He also confirmed that in the same operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis were eliminated.
Mr. Gokhale added that, “Credible information was received that JeM was attempting other attacks in the country. A pre-emptive strike became important. India struck the biggest camp of JeM in Balakot.
“The Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) has been active in Pakistan for two decades. It is led by Azhar Masood. Pakistan has taken no concrete action to dismantle the terror infrastructure in the country. It has denied the existence of JeM,” he said.
On 14 February 2019, a suicide terror attack was conducted by a Pakistan based terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammad in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir State of India which claimed the lives of 40 Indian CRPF soldiers.
JeM is led by Masood Azhar with its headquarters in Bahawalpur, Gokhale said in his statement.
“This organization, which is proscribed by the UN, has been responsible of a series of terrorist attacks including on the Indian Parliament in December 2001 and the Pathankot airbase in January 2016.
Information regarding the location of training camps in Pakistan and PoJK has been provided to Pakistan from time to time. Pakistan, however, denies their existence. The existence of such massive training facilities capable of training hundreds of jidhadis could not have functioned without the knowledge of Pakistan authorities”.
The foreign secretary said that India has been repeatedly urging Pakistan to take action against the JeM to prevent terrorists from being trained and armed inside Pakistan’s territory but Pakistan has taken no “concrete actions to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism on its soil”.
Gokhale added that credible intelligence was received that JeM was attempting another suicide terror attack in various parts of India, which is what necessitated India’s “preemptive strike”.
“The Government of India is firmly and resolutely committed to taking all necessary measures to fight the menace of terrorism. Hence this non-military preemptive action was specifically targeted at the JeM camp. 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”, Gokhale conceded.
He also ended his address by saying that India expects that Pakistan lives up to its public commitment of countering terrorism and takes follow up actions to dismantle all JeM and other camps and hold the terrorists accountable for the actions.