In a strong statement on Wednesday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that India is fully capable of carrying out Abbottabad-like strike inside Pakistan referring to 2 May 2011 the surgical mission in which US Navy SEALs took out Al Qaida chief Osama bin Laden.
A day after Indian Air Force (IAF) jets flattened a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot, the Finance Minister said, “I remember when the US Navy SEALs had taken Osama Bin Laden from Abbottabad. Can’t we do the same?”
“This used to be just an imagination – a desire, a frustration, a disappointment. But today this is possible,” Jaitley asserted indicating at the hugely successful air strike by India which killed between 250-300 terrorists.
In a major pre-emptive strike on Tuesday, the IAF dropped multiple 1000 kg laser-guided bombs on JEM’s biggest camp in Balakot. This was the first time the IAF fighter jets were sent across the LoC since the 1971 Indo-Pak War.
Reports say that 12 IAF Mirage 2000 fighter jets took off from Gwalior for the mission which started 3.30 am. The mission was over by 4.06 am.
In a statement the MEA said that India hit 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,” Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said.
He added that the “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,” he said.
Meanwhile, a security meeting is on at the residence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi where he is being briefed of the current situation by NSA Ajit Doval and the chief of India’s external intelligence agency, R&AW.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, too, are present at the meeting.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is in Wuzhen, China, for 16th Foreign Ministers meeting of Russia-India-China (RIC). The three countries, earlier today, expressed their commitment to jointly combat all forms terrorism through closer policy coordination and practical cooperation.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi specifically said that it is especially important to eradicate the “breeding grounds of terrorism and extremism”.