Indian military planes bombed ‘terror camps’ in Pakistani territory, escalating tensions between the two countries.
There are wildly conflicting reports on the level of damage involved in the strikes, with Pakistan claiming there was neither casualties nor damage, while CNN reports as many as 200 people injured.
CNN News 18 further claims, citing defence sources, the strike was against a terror camp and was carried out by a dozen Mirage 2000 jets dropping 1000kg bombs.
Indian television channels quoted unidentified government sources as saying multiple targets were destroyed during the air
raid into Pakistan involving a dozen Mirage aircraft.
“It’s a fitting reply to the horror we witnessed in Pulwama,” said former Indian air chief Pradeep Vasant.
“It’s an airborne surgical strike, we have upped the ante,” he said.
Mohammed Iqbal, a resident of Mendhar in India’s side of Kashmir, said there had been jets flying all night.
Pakistan downplayed the incident, saying there were no casualties and that Indian jets “released a payload” hastily in
a forest area after crossing Kashmir’s Line of Control (LoC), which acts as a de facto border between the two countries.
“Air Force carried out aerial strike early morning today at terror camps across the LoC (Line of Control) and Completely
destroyed it,” India’s minister of state for agriculture, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, said on Twitter.
Pakistan’s military confirmed Indian aircraft violated its airspace but said “no infrastructure got hit”.
“Indian aircrafts intruded from Muzafarabad sector,” Pakistani military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said on
Twitter early on Tuesday, referring to an area in the Pakistan-administered part of Kashmir.
Ghafoor 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”.
Ghafoor, saying that more information would be released, tweeted four pictures of the alleged site where Indian aircraft
dropped a payload near Balakot, purportedly showing a bomb crater in a forest area but no serious damage.
Balakot, a town in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan, is about 30 miles from the Line of Control
(LoC) in Kashmir, which was the cause of two of the three wars India and Pakistan have fought since the end of British colonial
rule in 1947.
Analysts have alleged Pakistani militants have their training camps in the area, although Pakistan has always denied the presence of any such camps.
The confrontation follows a growing rift between the arch-foes since a February 14 suicide bombing in the disputed Kashmir region, claimed by a Pakistani-based militant group, killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police.
New Delhi blamed Islamabad, which denies having a role in the attack.