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Pakistan will pay for Sunjuwan misadventure: Nirmala Sitharaman

SNS | New Delhi |

Calling the Sunjuwan Military Station terror attack a “dastardly attack of cowardice on unarmed soldiers”, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman slammed Pakistan for continuously sponsoring terrorists and assured the people of India that the sacrifices of the soldiers will not go in vain.

“Pakistan will pay for this misadventure,” she stressed adding that India will continue to thwart any attempt by Pakistan. Though asked, Sitharaman did not elaborate on the kind of response.

The Defence Minister informed that the counter terrorist operations at Sunjuwan were called off in the morning at 10.30 am but the sanitisation operations are on.

India said that the terrorists belonged to Maulana Masood Azhar’s Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and were deriving support from therein.

All three terrorists have been killed. It is believed that the fourth was a guide who did not enter the camp.

She said that after the Quick Response Teams (QRTs) challenged the terrorists, they rushed towards pre-designated targets at family quarters.

Counter terror operation was done cautiously since the terrorists were dressed in battle fatigues. The Army evacuated 189 flats in 26 blocks inside the camp to ensure the safety of the residents.

Without taking names, the Defence Minister said that the JeM terrorists enjoyed local support.

“Demography of cantonment and adjoining areas indicate possibility of local support,” Sitharaman said adding that Intel inputs indicate that the terrorists were being guided by handlers across the border.

She said that evidence related to the involvement of JeM will be provided to Pakistan as a continuous process.

“Giving that does not deny us our right to respond adequately and at a time as we think fit,” the defence minister said.

Sitharaman repeatedly accused Pakistan for continuously nurturing, training and shielding terrorists. She pointed out that many of the terrorists responsible for attacks on Indian soil, including the 2008 Mumbai terror attack are roaming free in the country.

She said that Pakistan is expanding the arc of terror to the south of Pir Panjal range.

Responding to a question on cooperation with the J-K government on strategic matters, Sitharaman said that the Centre and the state will have to work together for the sake of the armed forces who are operating in severe duress.

Five security force personnel were martyred and one civilian was killed in the Sunjuwan attack which began in the wee hours of Saturday, 10 February.