Indian Air Force fighter jets have crossed the Line of Control between India and Pakistan and carried out attacks for the first time since 1971 in the latest development since deadly Pulwama suicide attack in which more than 40 of the Indian soldiers were killed. Pakistan has said there were no casualties from the attacks and India has said it was a preemptive strike and killed many Jaish-e-Mohammad extremists. Follow us for the latest developments as tensions grow along both sides of the border.
Pakistan official: 4 civilians killed in Indian shelling
Four people including two children were killed and ten others injured in an exchange of fire between Indian and Pakistani troops in Kashmir Tuesday, Pakistani officials said, as tensions surge between the nuclear-armed rivals.
"An Indian mortar shell hit a house in Nakyal sector along the Line of Control that killed a mother, daughter and son while three others were injured," local disaster management authority official Shariq Tariq told AFP.
New Delhi and Islamabad regularly accuse each other of firing across the heavily-militarised de facto border in Kashmir, called the Line of Control.
Tariq said another woman was killed and seven others injured in shelling elsewhere in Nakyal. Local police official Irfan Saleem confirmed the incident.
The deaths came as India said Tuesday it had launched air strikes against militant camps in Pakistan's territory, following a suicide attack that killed 40 Indian soldiers in Kashmir earlier this month.
Pakistan denied India's claim that the attack had inflicted major damage and casualties on militants responsible for the February 14 bombing as "reckless and fictitious", and said it would respond in due course.
"India is putting regional peace at risk"
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that India is putting the regional peace and stability at risk in pursuit of its political and electoral targets.
In a phone conversation with Pompeo following the Indian Air Force's strikes on terrorist training camps in Pakistan earlier on Tuesday, Qureshi told Pompeo that Indian "aggression was worthy of condemnation" and hoped that the US would play its role in the situation.
According to the Foreign Office (FO), the Foreign Minister apprised Pompeo about India's LoC violations as well as the emotions of Pakistani government, parliament and the people, the Dawn reported.
"Pakistan desires regional peace and stability but we cannot compromise on our stability," Qureshi told his American counterpart.
He said that Islamabad had already informed the international community about New Delhi's intentions following the Pulwama attack. However, he said Pakistan had adopted an "extremely responsible attitude" despite threats from India.
Border areas of Rajasthan on high alert
Following the air strike on Pakistan by the Indian Air Force, the security forces, including BSF, Army and IAF, deployed in border areas of Rajasthan have been put on high alert, defence sources said.
"The IAF fighter combats are patrolling western borders of the state. The border cities of Jaisalmer, Barmer, Bikaner and Shri Ganganagar have been kept on high alert," an official said.
A strict vigil is being kept on activities in border villages, officials said. However
Meanwhile, the defence sources said there is no need to worry. "We are ready to tackle all situations," said a senior defence officer.
India 'air strikes' send Pakistan tensions surging
India said Tuesday it had launched air strikes against militant camps in Pakistan's territory, triggering international concern over a dangerous escalation between the nuclear-armed rivals.
Pakistan denied India's claim that the attack had inflicted major damage and casualties on militants responsible for a suicide attack in Kashmir earlier this month as "reckless and fictitious", and said it would respond in due course.
The purported attack would be India's first use of air strikes against Pakistan since 1971, when the two went to war over Bangladesh's independence.
The escalation has triggered international alarm, with China and the European Union calling for both sides to show restraint.
New Delhi said its jets had hit a JeM training camp and killed "a very large number" of militants training to stage suicide attacks in India.
Pakistan said it scrambled its fighters to push back the intruders, condemning the "uncalled-for aggression" and denying a militant camp was targeted.
'Bleed with 1,000 cuts'
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan both summoned emergency meetings of top ministers after the attack.
Khan also convened a meeting for Wednesday of the National Command Authority, which oversees command and control of the country's nuclear arsenal, the military said.
Modi, at a rally in Rajasthan on Tuesday, did not directly mention the strike. He paid tribute to the military and said: "I assure the nation that the country is in safe hands."
"They say they want India to bleed with a 1,000 cuts. We say that each time you attack us, be certain we will get back at you, harder and stronger," said foreign affairs minister of state, Vijay Kumar Singh, a former head of the Indian army.
Divine force with us in fight against humanity's enemies: Modi
Making a veiled reference to Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the divine force was always with him in fight against the enemies of humanity and it was a message that India wanted to send with complete authority to "asuras" (demons) and evil forces.
His remarks came after India on Tuesday struck the Jaish-e-Mohammed's biggest training camp at Balakot in Pakistan, killing several terrorists and their trainers, according to Indian officials.
Modi was speaking at the Gita Aradhana Mahotsav where he unveiled a unique Bhagwad Gita, prepared by ISKCON devotees, that measures over 2.8 meters and weighs over 800 kg.
Pakistan boycotts Indian movies, advertisements
Pakistan's Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday announced a boycott on Indian movies as well as 'Made in India' advertisements in the country.
"Cinema Exhibitors Association has boycotted Indian content, no Indian Movie will be released in Pakistan. Also have instructed PEMRA to act against 'Made in India' advertisements," Chaudhry tweeted.
Pakistan Army confirms Indian jets dropped 'four bombs'
Pakistan Army confirmed that Indian fighter jets dropped "four bombs" during an operation on Tuesday but downplayed its significance, saying the Indian attack was repulsed and while going back the aircraft "jettisoned their payload."
Pakistan will 'surprise' India with its response
Army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor also said Pakistan will "surprise" India with its response that will be in all domains including "diplomatic, political and military."
"Prime Minister Imran Khan told the army and people that get ready for any eventuality. Now it is time for India to wait for our response. We have decided. Wait for it," Ghafoor said.
Pakistan summons India's diplomat over 'violation of its territorial sovereignty'
Pakistan on Tuesday summoned India's acting High Commissioner here and condemned the "violation of its territorial sovereignty" by Indian fighter jets.
In a statement, the Foreign Office said that at "approximately 02:54 hours (local time), 8 Indian aircraft were effectively intercepted by the Pakistani Air Force jets and forced" to return.
The Indian jets "randomly released their ordinance which landed in an uninhabited remote area," it added.
"The Acting Foreign Secretary summoned the Indian Acting High Commissioner and strongly condemned the Indian violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity," it said.
It said that the "baseless, reprehensible Indian claims of targeting a large terrorist camp and resultant causalities to placate Indian domestic audience and electioneering were strongly rebutted."
The Acting Foreign Secretary categorically stated that Indian "aggression was a threat to regional peace and stability and would get a befitting response by Pakistan at a time and place of its choosing."
The official also condemned the "baseless" Indian allegations against Pakistan's involvement in the Pulwama terror attack.
200 hours of planning after intelligence inputs: India sources
The pre-dawn attack air strike by Indian Air Force (IAF) on Jaish-e-Mohammed's (JeM) biggest terror camp in Balakot in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on early Tuesday involved over 200 hours of planning that began following intelligence inputs regarding a second suicide terror strike somewhere in India.
Highly-placed sources said that the government got the intelligence input just two days after the February 14 terror strike in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama by JeM suicide bomber Adil Ahmad Dar in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers were killed and five suffered injuries.
The intelligence input warned of another suicide terror attack - which could be bigger than Pulwama - at any place across India, said the source.
Soon after the input, a series of meetings were held among top government officials and ministers concerned, the chiefs of the Army, Navy and IAF and National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval to give befitting reply to the JeM terrorists.
The final decision to carry out an air strike on a Pakistan-based terror camp was taken in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Doval and IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, present.
"The meeting finalized an air strike on the terror camps as the only option to take revenge for security personnel killed in Pulwama attack and give a big jolt to the JeM's plan to carry out another strike in India. Over 200 hours of planning went into the air strike in which every aspect was taken care of," said the source.
It was decided that the revenge would be taken on the 13th day of Pulwama attack to pay "best homage" to the slain CRPF personnel who lost their lives after a bus, part of a 78-vehicle convoy, they were travelling in was blown up by Adil's car packed with over 200 kg of explosives on the Jammu-Srinagar highway, said the source.
Another source said that 16 Sukhoi fighter jets were backing over 12 Mirage 2000 fighter jets that pounded multiple terror camps across the Line of Control (LoC) in what is being seen as the first cross-border air strike India has carried out in nearly five decades.
"Mirage jets left their base in Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh and after mid-air fuelling over Adampur in Punjab, they struck the terror camps in Balakot."
When India decided to raise the bar after the Pulwama attack, Balakot was on the radar of Indian intelligence agencies for being a hub of JeM.
Intelligence agencies were sure that the Pulwama attack was also planned in Balakot terror camp which was headed by JeM chief Masood Azhar's brother-in-law Maulana Yusuf Azhar.
The location of Balakot, well away from the LoC, made it a safe heaven for terrorist training. Even the Border Action Teams (BATs) of Pakistan army regulars, who carry out cross-border raids on Indian patrols on the LoC, are trained in Balakot.
Foreign Secretary Vijay K. Gokhale on Tuesday told the media that a very large number of JeM terrorists, including senior commanders, trainers and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen (suicide attack) missions, were eliminated in the operation.
"India struck the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot. Credible intelligence was received that the JeM was attempting another suicide terror attack in various parts of the country (India), and the fidayeen jihadis were being trained for this purpose," Gokhale said.
Pakistan admitted that the IAF planes struck Balakot but claimed that they returned when it scrambled its war planes.
Only one injured, none killed in attack: Villagers near Balakot
Villagers near the town of Balakot in northeast Pakistan were shaken out of their sleep by what seemed like an earthquake in the early hours of Tuesday, only discovering once dawn broke that there had been an Indian airstrike on their neighbourhood.
Indian officials said the raid destroyed a training camp of Jaish-e- Mohammed, the militant group behind a suicide attack in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 members of a paramilitary police force on Feb. 14. India's foreign secretary said "a very large number of JEM terrorists" had been eliminated in what was the first Indian air strike on Pakistani territory since 1971.
The villagers, however, said only one person was wounded in the attack and they knew of no fatalities.
A resident, who did not want to give his name, said there was a nearby madrasa run by Jaish, though most villagers were guarded talking about their militant neighbours.
"There is this madrasa on the hilltop. The Jaish-e-Mohammed runs it," he said.
Another person, who also declined to give his name said the militants had had a presence in the area for years.
"I belong to that area. I know for sure that there has been a training camp. It used to be there. I know Jaish people ran it," he said.
"This camp was turned into a madrasa several years ago, but no one would still be allowed to get close to this infrastructure. There are scores of students in the madrasa at any given time," he said.
Set in a wooded, hilly area in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on the way to the scenic Kaghan valley, some 40 kilometres from the de facto border with India, Balakot was of many towns that was devastated by as massive earthquake in 2005.
From what villagers could see, the Indian attack had missed its target as the bombs dropped exploded about a kilometre away from the madrasa.
Mohammad Ajmal, a 25 year-old villager near Jaba Top, where the attack took place, said he had heard four loud bangs in succession just before 3.00 a.m. (2200 GMT).
"We couldn't tell what had happened. It was only in the morning that we figured out it was an attack," he told Reuters after visiting the site, in a wooded hilltop area.
"We saw fallen trees and one damaged house, and four craters where the bombs had fallen." Fida Hussain Shah, a 46 year-old farmer, said he and other villagers had found pieces of Indian ordnance that had splintered pine trees on the hill but the only casualty was a man sleeping in his house when shrapnel broke the windows.
Five-star resort style camp on a hilltop forest hit, says Indian officials
India pounded Jaish-e-Mohammed's biggest training camp in Pakistan early Tuesday, killing up to 350 terrorists and trainers who were moved there for their protection after the Pulwama attack, Indian officials said.
The pre-dawn operation, described as "non-military" and "preemptive", struck a five-star resort style camp on a hilltop forest that provided Indian forces with a "sitting duck target" and caught the terrorists in their sleep, sources said.
The country is in safe hands and he will not let the country down, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a public rally in Churu, Rajasthan, in his first remarks after the strike. He, however, did not make a direct reference to the attack or give any details.
Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale told the media the "intelligence-led operation" on the Pakistan-based terror group's biggest training camp in Balakot became "absolutely necessary" as it was planning more suicide attacks in India, after the February 14 attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama in which 40 soldiers were killed. The JeM claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack.
Gokhale said the camp was located in Balakot but did not elaborate further. Sources said the reference was to the town in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, about 80 km from the Line of Control and near Abbotabad where Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed in hiding by covert US forces.
Gokhale also did not give details of how the attacks were carried out but sources said a group of Mirage 2000 jets was used to drop bombs in the operation, which included various other aircraft.
This is the first time since the 1971 war that India has used air power against Pakistan.
India received intelligence that the JeM had shifted many in-training terrorists and hardcore operatives, along with their trainers, to the camp, about 20 km from Balakot town, which has facilities for 500 to 700 people and even a swimming pool, sources said.
In a synchronised operation, fighter and other aircraft took off from several air bases in Western and Central commands at about the same time, leaving Pakistani defence officials confused about where they were heading, they said.
A small group of aircraft broke away from the swarm and headed to Balakot where "the sleeping terrorists were sitting ducks for the Indian bombing", said one source.
The entire operation, it is learnt, was over in 20 minutes, starting at 3.45 am and ending at 4.05 am.
The nation is in safe hands: Modi
In his first remarks after Indian Air Force (IAF) planes struck the Jaish-e-Mohammad's (JeM) biggest terror training camp in Pakistan's Balakot on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed that he will always defend the nation and not allow it to bow.
Addressing a public meeting here, Modi said: "I want to assure the people of the country that the nation is in safe hands."
He said that he will repeat what he said in 2014.
I vow to the soil of my country that I won't allow the country to break, won't allow the country to bow. I promise mother India that I will not let your head bow down," he said.
"Jaag raha hai desh mera, har bharatwasi jitega (My country is awakening and every citizen will win)," Modi thundered.
He also said that today the mood of the people looks different.
The Prime Minister said: "Nothing is more important than the nation. And I salute the people who are serving the nation."
His remarks came hours after the IAF struck the JeM's biggest training camp at Balakot in Pakistan.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan admitted that the IAF planes struck Balakot but claimed that they returned when it scrambled its war planes.
Mirage 2000s have best precision strike capability in IAF
The Indian Air Force (IAF) used Mirage 2000 fighter jets to bomb Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror pad in Pakistan's Balakot because it is the best aircraft in the fleet with precision strike capability.
The success of the operation not only shows the IAF's capability but it is also proof of the country's intelligence gathering set up, said an official, explaining that surgical strikes against terrorists cannot achieve desired results unless they are backed by hardcore real-time intelligence.
This is not the first time the Mirages have come handy for the IAF in dealing with Pakistan. The IAF used precision bombing for the first time during the Kargil conflict when the aircraft was hurriedly improvised to fire guided bombs.
The ability to deliver precision bomb was the reason it was chosen over Russian Su-30 MKIs.
Officials said that a precision strike at night meant that a similar mission in the day could have taken lesser time. Unlike day, the fighters cannot fly in close proximity with each other at night.
The fact that the aircraft spent 21 minutes in Pakistani air space was a remarkable feat as one minute is equal to 17 km at attack speed. The duration of the operation might appear short in real terms but that is a lot of time in enemy air space.
The fighter jets were backed by Emb 145 early warning plane, which was deployed to pick up emerging threat at a large distance and alert the attacking pilots.
They would have picked up any scrambling of fighters by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). As it turned out, before the PAF fighters could react, the Indian jets had accomplished their mission.
The use of mid-air refueller is also an essential part of the mission as the distance to the target might not have been much, but if the fighter jets came in contact with the enemy aircraft they could have run low on fuel.
The officials said that the IAF team was able to deceive the enemy and surprise its air defence systems. There are several tactics like flying low, employing jammers and decoys.
The Mirage 2000 fire a range of Western weapons. After the upgrade, the Mirages have Mica air to air multi-mission missiles and a range of precision guided bombs including Israeli spice. It could have been delivered by either EO (electro optics) or IR (infra-red) controls.
The Mirage 2000s were inducted in the mid-1980s. In 2011, India had signed a $2.5 billion for upgrading 51 Mirage. The upgradation programme is still going on.
Imran Khan says India's claim on bombing 'fictitious'
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has denounced Indian statements that its fighter jets hit a militant camp in Pakistani town of Balakot as "fictitious."
Khan's remark came after a meeting of the country's National Security Committee on Tuesday, hours after Pakistan said Indian aircraft dropped bombs on a deserted wooded area causing no casualties. India, however, says it killed a "very large number" of militants.
Khan says that "once again, the Indian government has resorted to a self- serving, reckless and fictitious claim" and added that the statements from India were "for domestic consumption" in the run-up to elections.
He says India risks "putting regional peace and stability at grave risk" and summoned a meeting of the Parliament for Wednesday.
According to the statement, Khan said that "India has committed uncalled for aggression to which Pakistan shall respond at the time and place of its choosing."
Pakistan armed forces fully prepared : Sherry Rehman
Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Sherry Rehman said that Pakistan's armed forces were fully prepared to respond to the "drum of war India is beating."
"At this time, a powerful and clear message should be sent out from the Parliament that we will give a befitting and swift response to Indian aggression," she said talking to private news channel.
She strongly condemned the incursion of the Indian aircrafts saying , "the world should be given the message that we do not want a war. If a war is waged against us, then we are fully prepared for it."
She urged that "it is the government's responsibility to summon a joint parliamentary meeting immediately."
"The Indian leadership should come to its senses and act responsibly," she added.
Political differences with the government are one side but we will stand with it on matters of Pakistan's defence, she said.
India has the right to self-defence: Owaisi
All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) President Asaduddin Owaisi hailed the Indian Air Force (IAF) strikes on terror camps in Pakistan, saying India has the right to self-defence.
"We welcome this. It's a right step. We stand by the government," the Hyderabad MP told reporters.
"If a country is not able to stop non-state actors, then another country which is the target of terrorist violence has the right to act in self-defence," he said.
Owaisi said India should now go after Pakistani terrorist leaders Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar. "They are satans and their outfits are also evil."
Indian authorities claim that around 300 militants were killed in the pre-dawn attack.
High alert sounded along Gujarat borders with Pakistan
Gujarat was put on high alert after India carried out a 'non military pre-emptive' strike targeting training camps of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in Balakot area in Pakistan.
Director General of Police Shivanand Jha issued the high alert across the border districts of Kutch, Banaskantha and Patan even as all District Superintendents of Police and Range Inspector Generals of Police were asked to remain stationed at their respective headquarters.
"Three border districts -- Patan, Banaskantha and Kutch in particular -- have been put on high alert, with the Indian Air Force on high alert at its air defence systems across the western border with Pakistan.
Kerala leaders hail IAF attack on JeM
Top political leaders from Kerala welcomed the Indian action against the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) operating from Pakistan.
Former Defence Minister A.K. Antony told the media in Delhi that the air strikes was a huge victory for the Indian forces.
Superstar and Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha member Suresh Gopi wrote on Facebook: "This is a matter of pride for us as the death of our martyrs (in Pulwama) has been avenged by our forces."
Indian Union Muslim League Lok Sabha member P.K. Kunhalikutty told the media in Kochi that the Indian forces have done a great job. "They have made us proud by giving a befitting reply to Pakistan."
Pakistan to raise 'Indian LoC violation' at international forums
Pakistan on Tuesday decided to raise the issue of "India's violation of the Line of Control" (LoC) at international forums after the IAF reportedly struck the Jaish-e-Mohammad's (JeM) biggest training camp in Balakot in Pakistan, reports IANS.
According to Geo News, the decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan and attended by the civil and military leadership, including Army Chief General Qamar Jawed Bajwa and the Ministers of Defence and Foreign Affairs.
It was decided that the matter of "Indian LoC violation be immediately raised at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), UN and with friendly countries", the report said.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will raise the issue at international forums.
The meeting also decided that a joint session will be called to take Parliament into confidence.
According to Geo News, participants of the meeting were briefed on the preparedness of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) to respond to any aggression.
"There is a strong mechanism in place to guard the land and air borders of the country," the report quoted security officials as saying.
Ahead of the meeting, Qureshi chaired an emergency consultative meeting at the Foreign Office and said Pakistan had "the right to self-defence and (give) a befitting response" to India.
China urges India, Pakistan to 'exercise restraint'
China urged India and Pakistan on Tuesday to "exercise restraint" after New Delhi said its warplanes attacked a militant camp, in a move that sent tensions soaring between the arch-rivals over disputed Kashmir.
"We hope that both India and Pakistan can exercise restraint and adopt actions that will help stabilise the situation in the region and improve mutual relations," China's foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.
Refrain from going to war, Shehbaz Sharif tells India
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday urged India to refrain from plunging the region into war.
Following the development, Sharif called on the Indian leadership to "rethink its war strategy" and warned that if India initiated a war, then Pakistan would hoist its flag in New Delhi, Geo News reported.
"The Indian leadership should come to its senses and act responsibly and should not (plunge) the people of South Asia into war," Sharif said.
"It will be a significant mistake on the Indian side to mistake Pakistan's stance as weakness," said the Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly.
One person wounded in Indian air strike
BALAKOT: Pakistani villagers in the area where Indian jets struck what officials in New Delhi said was a militant training camp said they heard four loud bangs in the early hours of Tuesday but reported only one person wounded by bomb shards, reports Reuters.
"We saw trees fallen down and one house damaged and four craters where the bombs had fallen," said Mohammad Ajmal, a 25-year-old who visited the site.
Pakistan says India committed 'aggression', Islamabad has 'right to respond'
Islamabad: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday said India has committed "aggression" by violating the LoC and Islamabad has "right to respond", PTI reports.
His remarks came after combat jets of the Indian Air Force (IAF) bombed terror camps at multiple locations across the Line of Control (LoC) on the Pakistani side in a pre-dawn strike.
Prime Minister Imran Khan was chairing an "important meeting" to discuss the situation, sources here said.
India's air strikes came 12 days after the Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed carried out the Pulwama attack in Kashmir.
In Islamabad, Foreign Minister Qureshi said India has violated the LoC and Pakistan has right to respond.
"First, they committed aggression against Pakistan today. It is a violation of the LoC. I consider it a violation of the LoC, and Pakistan his right to give a suitable response in self defence," he told reporters after an "emergency meeting" with high-level officials at the Foreign Office (FO) for consultations.
Qureshi briefed Prime Minister Khan after the meeting at the Foreign Office.
India calls all-party meeting
The government has called an all-party meeting on Tuesday to brief opposition leaders about the IAF attack on Tuesday on the biggest training camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), which had claimed responsibility for the Pulwama terror attack.
The meeting has been called by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and will be held at 5 p.m.
Imran Khan convenes emergency meeting
Following the Indian Air Force (IAF)’s violation of Line of Control and claims of hitting Jaish-e-Mohammad training camps, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has convened an emergency meeting to review the emerging situation.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has also summoned an emergency meeting early Tuesday morning at the Foreign Office in Islamabad to discuss the security situation with former secretaries and senior ambassadors, according to Radio Pakistan.
During the meeting, Qureshi had said that Pakistan desires peace but India is deteriorating the regional situation.
India says it was pre-emptive strike
Credible information was received that Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) was attempting other attacks in the country. A pre-emptive strike became important. India struck the biggest camp of JeM in Balakot, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said in a media briefing in New Delhi.
"In an intelligence lead operation in the early hours today, India struck the biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad in Balakot. In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders were eliminated in largest JeM camp in Balakot. Camp was led by Maulana Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghauri, brother in law of JeM Chief Masood Azhar," Gokhale said.
"This non-military pre-emptive action was targeted specifically at JeM camp. The selection of the target was also conditioned by our desire to avoid civilian casualties. The selection of the target was also conditioned by our desire to avoid civilian casualty. It's located in deep forest on a hilltop," he said.
Text of India foreign secretary's statement on air strike
Following is the text of the statement by India's Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale on the strike on Jaish-e-Mohammed's training camp:
"On 14 February 2019, a suicide terror attack was conducted by a Pak based terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammad, leading to the martyrdom of 40 brave jawans of the CRPF. JeM has been active in Pakistan for the last two decades, and is led by MASOOD AZHAR with its headquarters in Bahawalpur.
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.
India has been repeatedly urging Pakistan to take action against the JeM to prevent jihadis from being trained and armed inside Pakistan. Pakistan has taken no concrete actions to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism on its soil.
Credible intelligence was received that JeM was attempting another suicide terror attack in various parts of the country, and the fidayeen jihadis were being trained for this purpose. In the face of imminent danger, a preemptive strike became absolutely necessary.
In an intelligence led operation in the early hours of today, India struck the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot.
In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were eliminated.
This facility at Balakot was headed by MAULANA YOUSUF AZHAR (alias USTAD GHOURI), the brother-in-law of MASOOD AZHAR, Chief of JeM.
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.
The Government of Pakistan had made a solemn commitment in January 2004 not to allow its soil or territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India.
We expect that Pakistan lives up to its public commitment and takes follow up actions to dismantle all JeM and other camps and hold the terrorists accountable for the actions."
Watch: Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale briefs the media in Delhi
Air strike 'completely destroyed' militant camp: minister
The Indian air strike across the Kashmir ceasefire line early "completely destroyed" a militant camp, a junior minister said.
"Air Force carried out aerial strike early morning today at terror camps across the LoC and completely destroyed it," minister of state for agriculture, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, said in English on Twitter, referring to the Line of Control that divides the Indian- and Pakistani-administered parts of Kashmir.
Shekhawat's comments, the first from the government on reports about a raid in Pakistani-controlled territory, come nearly two weeks after a suicide bomb attack in Indian Kashmir in which 40 Indian paramilitaries were killed.
India had vowed to strike back after the bombing, which was claimed by a Pakistan-based militant group.
'Huge statement by India'
Even if #AirStrike in #Balakot across line of control in POK and not namesake in KPK (details awaited on this) a huge huge ops and a huge statement by India. First use of air power by India across line of control since 1971, senior journalist Barkha Dutt has tweeted.
Damage caused by IAF strike not known: Omar Abdullah
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said that one cannot possibly speculate on what will happen next following the Indian Air Force (IAF) strike across the Line of Control (LoC) as there was no information of the damage caused.
"Unless we know which Balakote is being talked about by the Pakistani generals it's pointless speculating about what we may have hit and what fallout the airstrike will have," Abdullah tweeted after Pakistan claimed that IAF jets crossed the LoC, and dropped a payload in haste before returning as the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) scrambled its war planes.
"If this is Balakote in KPK (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) it's a major incursion and a significant strike by IAF planes.
"However, if it's Balakote in Poonch sector, along the LoC it's a largely symbolic strike because at this time of the year forward launch pads and militant camps are empty and non-functional," he added.
The Vice President of the National Conference (NC) also spoke of a possible fallout over the air strikes.
"The problem now becomes Prime Minister Imran Khan's commitment to his country -- 'Pakistan will not think about responding, Pakistan will respond'.
"What shape will response take? Where will response be? Will India have to respond to Pakistan's response?," Omar Abdullah asked, voicing his concern about what happens next.
Abdullah's tweets came as the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) was meeting at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's residence.
Emergency meeting at Modi's residence
A meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) was underway at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's residence here in the wake of reports claimed by Islamabad that Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and returned after dropping a payload in Pakistan.
The meeting chaired by Modi, was attended by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and other government officials.
The meeting comes after Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Asif Ghafoor confirmed in a tweet early Tuesday that the IAF planes dropped the payload near Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa before leaving in haste as the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) scrambled its war planes.
The alleged incident took place in the Muzaffarabad sector, claimed Radio Pakistan.
Rahul, Kejriwal praise IAF pilots for crossing LoC
New Delhi: Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday praised the pilots of the Indian Air Force (IAF) following reports that they crossed the Line of Control (LoC) with their fighter jets and returned after dropping a payload in Pakistan.
"I salute the pilots of the IAF," Gandhi tweeted.
Kejriwal in a tweet said: "I salute the bravery of Indian Air Force pilots who have made us proud by striking terror targets in Pakistan."
Pakistan claimed on Tuesday that IAF fighter jets crossed the LoC and returned after the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) scrambled war planes.
Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Asif Ghafoor in a tweet confirmed that the jets dropped in the payload near Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Indian fighter jets cross Kashmir frontier, bomb camps
Islamabad: Pakistan’s military said on Wednesday Indian military aircraft crossed the line of control frontier in the disputed Kashmir region and “released a payload” after Pakistan scrambled its own jets, but there was no casualties or damage.
The Indian government is yet to respond to the development but multiple reports have claimed that the IAF carried out the strike at a terror camp well beyond the Line of Control (LoC).
“Indian aircrafts intruded from Muzafarabad sector,” Pakistani military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said on Twitter early on Wednesday, referring to an area in the Pakistan-administered part of Kashmir.
Indian News agency ANI has also reported quoting Indian Air Force sources that at 0330 hours on 26th February a group of Mirage 2000 Indian Fighter jets struck a major terrorist camp across the LoC and completely destroyed it.
He said “facing timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force”, the Indian aircraft “released payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot. No casualties or damage.”
Mirage 2000 jets involved in attack
Indian News agency ANI has also reported quoting Indian Air Force sources that at 0330 hours on 26th February a group of Mirage 2000 Indian Fighter jets struck a major terrorist camp across the LoC and completely destroyed it.
12 Mirage 2000 jets took part in the operation that dropped 1000 Kg bombs on terror camps across LOC, completely destroying it, ANI tweeted.
Dead attack in Pulwama
The latest development follows a suicide bombing attack on India's Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in Pulwama on February 14 that killed more than 40 troopers.
The attack was claimed by Pakistan-based militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), and prompted a spike in tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
Flight tracking websites spotted heightened activities along the border with an IAF early warning plane Emb 145 and mid-air refueller circling in the area early in the morning.
Reports claimed that the IAF strike was carried out by a group of Mirage 2000 fighters at around 3.30 a.m.
The strike in Balakot is significant as the location is beyond Pakistan Administered Kashmir, indicating it was not merely an LoC violation but a punitive action inside Pakistani territory.
Pakistan Armed Forces spokesperson also released images of what he described as payload from hastily escaping Indian aircraft.
This is the first time in decades that the Indian Air Force has crossed the LOC. It didn’t even happen during the Kargil war, comment senior journalist Vikram Chandra on Twitter.
(With inputs from agencies)