See More on Facebook

Current affairs, Diplomacy

Indian fighter jets strike Pakistan terror camp, Islamabad vows response

It was the worst escalation in tensions between the two nuclear-armed rivals since 2001.


Written by

Updated: February 27, 2019

India launched air strikes yesterday against a terrorist training camp hidden on a hilltop amid thick forests in Pakistan, in what it called a pre-emptive strike to prevent further terror attacks.

Indian officials said the training camp belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), a Pakistan-based terror group that claimed credit for the Feb 14 suicide bombing in which 40 paramilitary soldiers were killed in Pulwama district in Kashmir.

In the air assault, 12 Mirage 2000 single-engine fighter jets dropped bombs on the camp, reported ANI news agency.

Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said the air strike was a pre-emptive attack on a non-military installation.

It was conducted because India had received intelligence that suicide bombers were being trained in the camp in Balakot town, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, more than 50km from the Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border between the two countries.

Mr Gokhale said the camp was run by Maulana Yousuf Azhar, the brother-in-law of JeM founder Masood Azhar. “Credible intelligence was received that JeM was attempting another suicide terror attack… and (militants) were being trained for this purpose. In the face of imminent danger, a pre-emptive strike became absolutely necessary,” he said.

Mr Gokhale added that “a very large number” of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and militants were killed.

Indian media reported up to 300 militants were dead, citing government sources. Pakistan, however, denied there was any casualty or damage. Military spokesman Asif Ghafoor also claimed that the air strikes had hit open land.

“Under forced hasty withdrawal, (Indian) aircraft released payload which had free fall in open area. No infrastructure got hit, no casualties,” he tweeted, revealing that Pakistan had scrambled its jets.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said: “India has violated the LoC and Pakistan reserves the right to give a befitting response.”

The country’s National Security Committee said it “strongly rejected Indian claims of targeting an alleged terrorist camp near Balakot and the claim of heavy casualties.”

It warned that “Pakistan shall respond at the time and place of its choosing” to India’s aggression.

Pakistan also accused India of violating the ceasefire signed in 2003.

The two countries have fought three wars over Kashmir and regularly exchange fire across the de facto border in spite of the ceasefire.

India has for years demanded action against Pakistan-based terror groups like JeM and Lashkar-e-Taiba which have carried out multiple attacks in India, including the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks which killed 166 people.

In 2016, India carried out surgical strikes on terrorist launch pads along the border in retaliation for an attack on an Indian army base in Uri in Kashmir that killed 19 soldiers.

Within India, the latest air strikes gained support across an otherwise deeply divided polity. Opposition Congress’ president Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “I salute the pilots of the IAF (Indian Air Force).”

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: “The post-Uri strike was to avenge our losses, Balakot was a pre-emptive strike to prevent an imminent JeM attack. Totally new ball game.”

With elections scheduled to take place before May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been under pressure to take some kind of military action following the Pulwama attack. At a rally in Rajasthan yesterday after the air strikes, he said: “I want to assure you, India is in safe hands.”

For now, speculation is mounting within India over how Pakistan may retaliate.

Said Air Vice-Marshal (Retired) Manmohan Bahadur: “They have to decide how much they want to escalate. Do they want to go to war?”



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Current affairs, Diplomacy

Haze: Ministry urges bosses to allow workers to work from home

The haze has affected Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. The Human Resources Ministry has recommended employers to implement flexible work policies during the ongoing haze period and allow workers to work from home. The ministry said the matter was raised at a Cabinet meeting Wednesday (Sept 18), where it is the responsibility of employers to ensure the safety and health of workers. “It is important for employers to carry out risk assessments, take appropriate measures and to determine the need to come to work to ensure risks can be minimised,” the ministry said in a statement Thursday (Sept 19). “Labour laws in Malaysia do not prohibit employers from specifying a place of em


By The Star
September 20, 2019

Current affairs, Diplomacy

S. Korea, Japan to hold working-level talks

The two countries have not pursued diplomacy since a high level talk failed earlier this month. South Korea’s Foreign Ministry announced Thursday that an official handling Asia-Pacific affairs will visit Japan to meet his counterpart amid mounting tensions between the two countries. Kim Jung-han, director general for Asian and Pacific Affairs at Seoul’s Foreign Ministry, will meet Shigeki Takizaki to discuss matters of mutual interest, the ministry said in a press release. This is Kim’s first one-on-one meeting with Takizaki, who replaced Kenji Kanasugi as head of Japan’s Foreign Ministry’s Southeast and Southwest Asian affairs departmen


By The Korea Herald
September 20, 2019

Current affairs, Diplomacy

PM Imran expresses Pakistan’s resolve to stand with Saudi Arabia in face of threat to security

Saudi Arabia say they were attacked by Iranian drones. Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday met with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and expressed Pakistan’s resolve to stand with Saudi Arabia “in the event of a threat to its sanctity and security”, a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office said. The premier condemned the recent drone attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities and assured King Salman of Pakistan’s continued support to the Kingdom. According to the PMO statement, Prime Minister Imran also briefed King Salman on the current situation in occupied Kashmir. “King Salman reiterated the Kingdom’s solidarity and long-held support on the Kashmir issue,” said the statement. The two leaders discussed relations between the two countries as well as the regional and global political situation. They also talked about other matt


By Dawn
September 20, 2019

Current affairs, Diplomacy

After 19 yrs, polio back in PH

The anti-vaxxer movement has done it again. The Philippines is in the midst of a polio epidemic 19 years after it was declared polio-free, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III announced on Thursday. Polio is a crippling and at times fatal infectious disease. (See In the Know.) Duque said a single confirmed case signaled an epidemic in a once polio-free country. He said a 3-year-old girl from Lanao del Sur was diagnosed with a vaccine-derived polio virus type 2. The Department of Health (DOH) is awaiting confirmation of a suspected case of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP). Rabindra Abeyasinghe, country representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), noted that the type 2 polio virus had not been in circulation for many years and was certified eliminated in the Philippines. Metro Manila, Davao “[S]o the vaccination program that the DOH and other co


By Philippine Daily Inquirer
September 20, 2019

Current affairs, Diplomacy

China demands US drop bill on HK

China has accused the United States of meddling in the past. China on Thursday demanded the United States stop advancing a Hong Kong-related bill and its interference in Hong Kong affairs on Thursday, after US lawmakers held a news conference to back the bill. US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a bipartisan group of members of Congress held the media event on the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019”. Hong Kong separatists, including Joshua Wong Chifung and Denise Ho Wan-see, attended the event. China is strongly dissatisfied and firmly opposed to the move, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Thursday. Pelosi and other US politicians “failed to distinguish right from wrong” despite China repeatedly expressing its solemn stance over US meddling in Hong Kong affairs, Geng said. They were “brutally interfering in China


By China Daily
September 20, 2019

Current affairs, Diplomacy

Pakistan denies India’s request for use of airspace by Modi for flight to Germany

The latest in a series of escalating diplomatic tit-for-tats. The government on Wednesday announced its decision not to grant India’s request for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to use Pakistani airspace for his flight to Germany. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the decision has been made “keeping in view the situation in occupied Kashmir”. “A request was received from India saying that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to use Pakistani airspace for an overflight on the 20th to Germany and wishes to use the same for a return flight on the 28th,” said the foreign minister in a video statement. “Keeping in view the situation in occupied Kashmir and India’s attitude witnessed in the tyranny and oppression [suffered by Kashmiris] and the violations of rights in the region, we have decided not to grant this request,” he said.


By Dawn
September 19, 2019