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

Diplomatic thaw prompted active inter-Korean exchanges in 2018

The number of South Koreans visiting the North and vice versa increased sharply to 7,498 in 2018 from 115 in 2017. South Korea greatly expanded exchanges and cooperation with North Korea last year, buoyed by a diplomatic thaw following three inter-Korean summits, according to a new white paper published by the Ministry of Unification on Thursday. The surge in visits was attributed to government initiatives to cooperate with the North on an inter-Korean railway connection project, a forestry project and various sports events. Social and cultural exchanges driven by civic groups and local governments also played a role, according to the 2019 White Paper on


By The Korea Herald
March 22, 2019

Current affairs, Diplomacy

Italy to play a key role as Belt and Road opens new doors across globe

Italy will be a major part of China’s Belt and Road initiative. East-West relations have entered a new phase. Global integration, with sustained increases in crossborder exchanges of goods, technology, knowledge and resources, has reshaped international relations, spurring economic development of traditionally marginal regions and encouraging economic convergence among poorer and richer areas. The phenomenon has received great impetus from the possibilities offered by technological progress and the increase in physical and digital connectivity, strongly enhanced by the modernization and innovation efforts of Asian countries. What we have seen and are still seeing, indeed, is not a simple shift of production from the West to the East, but a real change in production models. The production and consumption of goods and services have followed value chains that are no longer confined to a local scale, but are


By China Daily
March 22, 2019

Current affairs, Diplomacy

No sign of concrete policies for conflict in Thailand’s restive south

Parties offer few if any answers for a 15-year-old deadly insurgency that successive govts have failed to quell. Peace and conflict have never been significant parts of any political party platform in Thailand. This is because a sustainable solution calls for long-term commitment to a policy that could prove to be politically costly. Lasting peace requires self-reflection on the part of both the state and society. Policymakers have to rethink the policy of assimilation that has so far been rejected by the Malay Muslim populace of the southern border provinces because it comes at the expense of their cultural and religious identity. Full-fledged armed insurgency erupted in the far South in the 1960s, some 50 years after the signing of the Anglo-Siam Treaty that defined our current political borders. There was a brief calm in the 1990s, but the absence of violence did not mean peace. A new generat


By The Nation (Thailand)
March 22, 2019

Current affairs, Diplomacy

How competing masculinities inform Pak-India escalation

Devaluing the other in gender hierarchies often takes place through feminisation. Last month, tensions reigned high between neighbouring nuclear powers that share an ugly history of separation and bellicosity. Once more, India and Pakistan seemed to be at the brink of war. Airports were shut down, the Line of Control was violated, and de-escalation — especially in the newfound absence of dedicated third-party intervention — looked out of bounds for the most part. War-mongering through media outlets prevailed while fake and selective news circulated in this situation of crisis. Yet, it is baffling — if also not amusing — that even in such delicate moments, rhetoric of ‘putting them in their place’ was omnipresent on both sides. Similarly, a few months ago, when Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted his disappointment regarding peace talks with India, he chastised that he ha


By Dawn
March 21, 2019

Current affairs, Diplomacy

Japanese Olympic Committee was step behind when dealing with Takeda charges

The head of Japan’s Olympic Committee said he would step down, as French authorities probe his involvement in payments made before Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Summer Games. Japanese Olympic Committee chief Tsunekazu Takeda’s decision to step down at the end of his current term comes after the JOC was sluggish in its attempts to deal with his alleged misconduct, according to observers. The driving force behind Takeda’s move was a gradual change in the International Olympic Committee’s stance toward his case, due to concerns that the issue could tarnish the image of the Olympic Games. On Tuesday, Takeda, 71, said he plans to resign when his term as JOC president ends in June. The JOC will now have to reorganize itself in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, an unusual move one year prior to an Olympic Games. Takeda also said he


By The Japan News
March 21, 2019

Current affairs, Diplomacy

Moon holds meeting with US intelligence chief in Seoul

The meeting comes after the failed Hanoi summit between Trump and Kim. President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday met with US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats in Seoul to discuss bilateral issues, Cheong Wa Dae said. According to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom, Moon and Coats held an “in-depth and wide ranging discussion about current issues between South Korea and the US.” Coats’ visit is seen as aimed at sharing information and assessment of North Korea following the breakdown of last month’s summit between the two countries. Earlier, a local newspaper reported that Coats arrived at a US air base in Osan, south of Seoul,


By The Korea Herald
March 21, 2019