The Indian Air Force fighter jets carried out pre-dawn air strikes on terror camps across the Line Control in the Pakistani side, 12 days after Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group carried out the dastardly Pulwama attack in Kashmir, government sources said.
They said the IAF jets pounded terror camps Balakot, Muzaffarabad and Chakoti in the well-planned strike involving a fleet of IAF jets and other military jets.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was briefed by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on the operation.
Hours later, Prime Minister Modi chaired a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Security which was attended by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Sitharaman.
The extent of the damage inflicted on the ground is not immediately known but the sources claimed the Pakistani side sustained significant losses.
Here are the LIVE updates:
An all-party meet called by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to brief opposition leaders about the IAF air strikes on Jaish terror camps in Pakistan is now underway.
Delhi: Visuals from the all-party meeting called by EAM Sushma Swaraj at Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan. pic.twitter.com/9FnQ59bFsQ— ANI (@ANI) February 26, 2019
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said, " Australian government is concerned about relations between India and Pakistan following the horrific terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir on 14 February, which Australia has condemned."
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne: Australian government is concerned about relations between India and Pakistan following the horrific terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir on 14 February, which Australia has condemned. (file pic) pic.twitter.com/iOzo3y1CMG— ANI (@ANI) February 26, 2019
"Pak must take urgent action against terrorist groups in its territory, including JeM which claimed responsibility for 14 Feb bombing & LeT. It must do everything to implement its own proscription of JeM. It can't allow extremist groups to operate from its territory," she said.
Urging both sides to exercise restrain Payne said, "Avoid any action which would endanger peace and security in the region and engage in dialogue to ensure that these issues are resolved peacefully."
"Pakistan will take international media to the area of strikes, helicopters are being readied, right now weather is bad, will fly when weather permits," says Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi
"We welcome this. It's a right step. We stand by the government. 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," AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi said
In view of prevailing Indo Pak situation, I am postponing my upwas for full statehood of Delhi. We all stand as one nation today: Delhi Cheif Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted
In view of prevailing Indo Pak situation, I am postponing my upwas for full statehood of Delhi. We all stand as one nation today.— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) February 26, 2019
Punjab Chief Minister's Offices said the state has put its border districts on high alert in the wake of the Indian Air Force's (IAF) strikes across the Line of Control, undertaken by India as a retaliatory measure in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack:
A total of six bombs were dropped on Pakistan based terrorist camps by the Indian Air Force Mirage 2000s: ANI reports
Prime Minister Imran Khan asks armed forces and the people of Pakistan to remain "prepared for all eventualities," reports PTI
Pakistan's top security committee says India has "committed uncalled for aggression"; vows to respond "at the time and place of its choosing, reports PTI
Pakistan says it "strongly rejects India's claim" of targeting terrorist camp near Balakot and causing heavy casualties, reports PTI
Pakistan's National Security Committee (NSC) after a meeting chaired by Pakistan PM Imran Khan today: India has committed uncalled for aggression to which Pakistan shall respond at the time and place of its choosing.
Foreign diplomats from the USA, UK, Russia, Australia, Indonesia, Turkey and six ASEAN nations being briefed by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale on Indian air strike across LoC in Balakot
China calls for 'restraint' after India's air strikes on Jaish-e-Mohammed's biggest training camp in Pakistan
Today is day to pay homage to India's bravehearts, want to assure you that country in safe hands. I vow that I will not let the country bow down. Nothing is above the nation: PM Modi at rally in Rajasthan post air strikes in Pakistan.
"Soldiers entered Pakistan and targeted JeM camps. It was a very brave act. The entire country is feeling proud and I congratulate the forces. The entire country was with the government and the Prime Minister at this time. Strict action was needed," Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said.
"This was grave aggression by India against Pakistan. This is a violation of LoC and Pakistan has the right to retaliate and self-defence," Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said.
"My compliment goes to the government for taking this action and also to the Air Force for the way they have carried out this strike (in Balakot) in an absolutely professional manne," said Lt. Gen DS Hooda (Retired), the Northern Army Commander during the 'Surgical Strike' in 2016.
"We've always said that whatever action the forces take for the protection of this nation, all of us will support them in unity, they are taking action against the terrorists in Pakistan. I congratulate them," said Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on the air strikes carried out by IAF across the LoC.
NSA Ajit Doval along with Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat and IAF Chief BS Dhanoa is reviewing the security situation on the borders after Indian Air Force strikes at JeM terror camp in Balakot across LoC: ANI
Credible intelligence was received that JeM was planning to carry out other suicide attacks in India, in face of imminent danger, preventive strike became "absolutely necessary", says FS
India expects Pakistan to dismantle all terror camps, including those of JeM: Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale
India struck terror camp in Balakot early Tuesday, top terror leaders eliminated: Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale
Maharashtra Assembly passes resolution congratulating Indian armed forces for carrying out strike on terror launch pads in Pakistan
Pakistani drone shot down near Gujarat border: Police
Pakistani F16s were scrambled to retaliate against IAF Mirage 2000s but turned back due to size of Indian formation. Western Air Command coordinated operation: ANI
Sources: Pakistani F16s were scrambled to retaliate against IAF Mirage 2000s but turned back due to size of Indian formation. Western Air Command coordinated operation.
"It was a necessary step required for the security of the country ... it was an act of maha parakram (mightily act)," said Union Minister Prakash Javadekar hailing the air strikes by the IAF across the LoC in Pakistan.
"I salute the bravery of Indian Air Force pilots who have made us proud by striking terror targets in Pakistan," Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted after the air strikes by the IAF across the LoC.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has summoned an emergency meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan. The meeting will discuss the security situation
Indian Air Force has put on high alert all air defence systems along the international border and LoC to respond to any possible action by Pakistan Air Force, ANI reported.
"Actually it was mostly on our own territory, which is called PoK- Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. So you can always bomb your own territory, nothing wrong," said senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on the IAF strikes across LoC.
"Even if it was their territory, we have under the United Nation charter, the right of self-defence. They have been attacking us and they say we want to give a thousand cuts to India, so our government did the right thing by giving them 1000 bombs," he added.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: "If this is Balakote in KPK it’s a major incursion & 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 & militant camps are empty & non-functional."
"Wow, if this is true this was not a small strike by any stretch of imagination but will wait for official word, should any be forthcoming," Omar had tweeted a bit earlier.
"I salute the pilots of the IAF," tweeted Congress president Rahul Gandhi
According to ANI, 12 Mirage fighter jets took part in the operation resulting in complete destruction of terror camp across the LoC.
The incident comes almost two weeks after the terror attack in Pulwama in which 40 CRPF soldiers were killed when a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed blew up a minivan laden with explosives next to a convoy of security forces.
The terror attack had led to nationwide outrage and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had vowed to punish those behind the attack.
The US has said it supports India's "Right to self-defence" in the back of the attack.
Earlier, Pakistan claimed that Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets crossed the Line of Control and returned after Pakistan Air Force (PAF) scrambled warplanes.
Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Asif Ghafoor tweeted early in the morning and Radio Pakistan claimed that IAF planes dropped payload in haste before leaving, which fell near Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The alleged incident took place in the Muzaffarabad sector, claimed Radio Pakistan.
(with inputs from agencies)