India on Wednesday said it had shot down a Pakistan Air Force jet that attempted to target military installations in Jammu and Kashmir. India’s Ministry of External Affairs confirmed a pilot of its Air Force was missing in action after the operation.
Pakistan claimed earlier in the day that its jets had struck across the Line of Control from “Pakistani airspace”, and that it had shot down two Indian jets. It also claimed to have arrested two Indian pilots, but later said only one pilot was in its custody. The action was not targeted at military installations or civilians, Islamabad claimed.
New Delhi said it is ascertaining Pakistan’s claim that the missing pilot is in its custody. Later, in a televised statement, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan sought dialogue and said neither country could afford war. He reiterated that Pakistan is ready for investigation into the Pulwama terror attack.
The development came a day after India claimed to have conducted air strikes and destroyed a terrorist camp in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.
Here is how the day unfolded:
10.20 pm: Union minister Arun Jaitley appeals to the Opposition party to let the country “speak in one voice”. “The cross-border terror attack in Pulwama was a reality,” he says on Twitter. “The Balakot Operation was India’s anti-terror preemptive strike to defend its sovereignty. The whole nation has spoken in one voice. Why, then is India’s opposition alleging that the Government is politicising our Anti-Terror Operations?”
“Please introspect - Your ill advised statement is being used by Pakistan to bolster its case,” he says.
10 pm: “Who is happy (with the joint statement)? Pakistan, its army and its media,” says Javadekar.
9.50 pm: Union minister Prakash Javadekar says the BJP is not politicising the security situation. Opposition parties’ claims are baseless and shows that India is not united, he says. Javadekar’s statement comes after the Opposition said they were anguished over the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s “blatant politicisation” of the sacrifices made by Armed Forces.
9.45 pm: All schools in Jammu and Kashmir’s Samba within a range of 5 kilometres from the International Border will remain closed on Thursday, ANI reports.
9.09 pm: European Union Diplomatic Chief Federica Mogherini calls on India and Pakistan to show the “utmost restraint”, reports AFP. “We expect both countries to now exercise utmost restraint and avoid any further escalation of the situation,” Mogherini says.
9.04 pm: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal says authorities have not given instructions on changes to running of Samjhauta Express, which runs between Delhi and Attari in India and Lahore in Pakistan, reports ANI.
8.59 pm: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says his country does not want a war and asked India to come to the table to resolve all outstanding issues, reports PTI. “Today’s strike demonstrates our right, will and capability to defend ourselves,” he says. “We do not want war. We hope India will come to the table to resolve all outstanding issues.”
8.53 pm: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says he hopes “saner counsels will prevail between leadership of India, Pakistan”, reports PTI.
8.45 pm: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti says she hopes India and Pakistan show restraint and “take a step back to think about the catastrophic consequences that would follow a war”.
“Pakistan has expressed its intention to crack down on terrorism and initiate a dialogue with India,” she says. “Perhaps the best gesture to gain India’s trust at this point would be the safe return of Wing Commander Abhinandan back home.”
8.33 pm: Former Army chief VP Malik says Pakistan’s attempted attack on Indian military installations was a “face saving exercise”, reports PTI. “The attack by the Pakistan Air Force on Indian territory is just a face saving action taken by the government of that country,” he says. “It’s inadequacy was amply exposed during yesterday’s [Tuesday’s] air strikes by Indian Air Force on the terrorist camps when their forces were caught unaware.”
Malik says the Pakistan government was left with no choice but to retaliate even if the attack failed to achieve anything.
8.28 pm: Delhi Metro says red alert imposed on entire network from 6 pm on Wednesday as “advised by security agencies”.
8.24 pm: Congress leader Milind Deora urges Union government to use all “diplomatic and military channels” to ensure the release of the missing Indian pilot detained in Pakistan. “This is a sensitive matter,” Deora says, according to PTI. “Jingoism around Indo-Pak conflict will only add fuel to fire. We need responsible journalism and responsible political discourse.”
8.20 pm: Unidentified officials tell PTI that Army personnel have been deployed at sensitive locations in Mumbai along with police.
8.14 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets chiefs of Indian Army, Navy and Air Force and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval at his residence amid tension with Pakistan, reports NDTV. The meeting on Wednesday reportedly lasted over an hour and was the second one in 24 hours. Modi had met the three service chiefs on Tuesday to congratulate them on the air strikes.
7.45 pm: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot directs security forces and administrative officials in the state to remain alert during a high-level security meeting, reports PTI. He orders strict surveillance in districts in the state along the international border.
Sriganganagar District Collector Shiv Prasad Madan says an advisory has been issued urging people to inform authorities about any suspicious activity in public places or near defence establishments.
7.31 pm: “We are working closely with international partners including through the UN Security Council to de-escalate tensions and are monitoring developments closely and considering implications for British nationals,” UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
7.29 pm: United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May says it is concerned about tensions between India and Pakistan and called for restraint on both sides. “We’re in regular contact with both countries, urging dialogue and diplomatic solutions to ensure regional stability,” May says, according to ANI.
7.26 pm: Singh says some forces are getting money from Pakistan and working on their directions. “Now such forces will not be tolerated,” he says in a purported reference to separatist leaders. “They have been preventing the development of Kashmir which was once known as India’s paradise.”
7.23 pm: Rajnath Singh says: “In the air strike, neither the Pakistani civilians were hurt nor the Pakistan Army was targeted. Our Air Force soldiers carried out the strike with caution. Despite this, Pakistan has been trying to defame India.”
Singh says India told Pakistan on several occasions about terrorism on Pakistani soil. “Pakistan has been giving shelter to terrorists,” he says. “However, Pakistan’s prime minister used to say that his country was also a victim of terrorism. If you are a victim of terrorism, what have you done to root out the menace from your soil. The Pakistan PM has no answer for it.”
7.20 pm: “Two days back, our forces gave a befitting reply to Pakistan, which has been trying to destabilise India,” says Home Minister Rajnath Singh at a convention of BJP workers in Bilaspur town of Chhattisgarh. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured that we will not let the country be subjugated. Our government will do whatever is required but will not let Mother India bow her head,” he says.
7.18 pm: Union minister Rajnath Singh says the air strikes on a terror camp in Pakistan was carried out with caution and no civilian was hurt in it, but Pakistan was trying to defame India, reports PTI.
7.15 pm: Amarinder Singh will visit the border areas in the districts of Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Pathankot, Faridkot and Ferozepur in Punjab over the next two days, reports PTI. Singh says security measures have been undertaken at all the sensitive installations, including Army bases and the airports, in the region.
7.13 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh meets Army, paramilitary and police officials to review situation in border areas, reports ANI. “The situation is under control and the armed and paramilitary forces, along with the police and district administrations, are aggressively countering all rumours,” says an official spokesperson, according to PTI.
7.09 pm: India says a dossier was handed over to Pakistan with details of Jaish-e-Mohammed’s complicity in Pulwama terror attack and the presence of JeM terror camps and its leadership in Pakistan. “It was conveyed that India expects Pakistan to take immediate and verifiable action against terrorism emanating from territories under its control,” says India.
6.56 pm: The ministry says Pakistan’s acting High Commissioner was summoned to lodge a strong protest at “unprovoked act of aggression by Pakistan against India earlier today, including violation of the Indian air space by Pakistan Air Force [and] targeting of Indian military posts,” reports ANI.
“This is in contrast to the India’s non-military anti-terror pre-emptive strike at a JeM terrorist camp in Balakot on 26 February 2019,” says Ministry of External Affairs. “It is unfortunate that instead of fulfilling its international obligation and bilateral commitment to take credible action against terrorist entities and individuals operating from its soil, Pakistan has acted with aggression against India.”
6.53 pm: “It was made clear that Pakistan would be well advised to ensure that no harm comes to the Indian defence personnel in its custody,” says the Ministry of External Affairs. “India also expects his immediate and safe return.”
6.50 pm: India objects to “Pakistan’s vulgar display” of an injured personnel of the Indian Air Force in violation of norms of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Convention, says Ministry of External Affairs, according to ANI.
6.28 pm: Pakistan Armed Forces spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor says only Indian pilot is under Pakistan Army’s custody. “Wing Comd [Commander] Abhi Nandan is being treated as per norms of military ethics,” he says.
Pakistan had earlier claimed that two Indian pilots were arrested. Ghafoor had claimed one pilot was arrested while another pilot, who was injured, was admitted to a hospital.
6.20 pm: Border Security Force issues alert along India-Bangladesh border to ensure “miscreants or terror elements” do not cross by taking advantage of the tension at the Indo-Pakistan border, PTI reports quoting an unidentified senior official.
6.08 pm: Abdullah urges Pakistan to treat the pilot “as you would have us treat one of your men in uniform should he be unfortunate enough to be captured on this side of the border”.
6.06 pm: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah says Prime Minister Narendra Modi must suspend his political activities until missing Wing Commander Abhinandan is returned safely. “It can’t be business as usual with him cross crossing the country at tax payer expense making political speeches while our pilot is a Pakistani captive,” he says on Twitter.
5.36 pm: In their statement, the Opposition parties “expressed their deep anguish over the blatant politicisation of the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces by leaders of the ruling party. National security must transcend narrow political considerations. The leaders observed that the Prime Minister has, regrettably, not convened an all-party meeting as per the established practice in our democracy.”
The statement urged the government to “take the nation into confidence on all measures to protect India’s sovereignty, unity and integrity”.
5.33 pm: After a meeting of Opposition parties, Rahul Gandhi says the leaders condemned the Pulwama attack and praised the action taken by the armed forces, reports ANI.
5.32 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi tweets: “I’m sorry to hear that one of our brave IAF pilots is missing. I hope he will return home soon, unharmed. We stand by our armed forces in these difficult times.”
5.29 pm: After summoning Pakistan’s deputy high commissioner, the Ministry of External Affairs lodged a strong protest over the Pakistan Air Force’s attack on Indian military installations, reports PTI.
5.27 pm: Farooq Abdullah’s statement urges both countries to shun violence. “Let me remind the two nations that war is a plague that will have far-reaching consequences on the growth and development of the two nations,” he says.
5.26 pm: National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah has called for de-escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan, PTI reports.
“History bears testimony to the fact that war did not help both the neighbours resolve their long pending issues,” he says. “It is in the interest of our region if both the countries shun war rhetoric.”
5.05 pm: The Ministry of External Affairs has summoned Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah, reports ANI.
4.48 pm: Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi post tweets in support of the missing pilot.
4.36 pm: The Congress tweets that it is saddened that a pilot was missing, and urges the government to bring him back safely.
4.17 pm: The share markets have closed with losses for a second consecutive day. The Sensex closed 68.28 points down at 35,905.43, and the Nifty 50 declined 28.65 points to close at 10,806.65.
4.13 pm: India has reopened nine of the airports it had shut down earlier in the day, The Hindu reports. The airports to be reopened are Srinagar, Jammu, Leh, Pathankot, Amritsar, Shimla, Kangra, Kullu Manali and Pithoragarh.
3.58 pm: In his five-minute statement, Imran Khan says Pakistan’s action was “only intended to convey that if you can come into our country, we can do the same”. “From here, it is imperative that we use our heads and act with wisdom,” Khan says, according to Dawn.
3.53 pm: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is now issuing a statement.
“I ask India, with the weapons you have and the weapons we have, can we really afford a miscalculation?” Khan asks. “If this escalates, it will no longer be in my control or in Modi’s. We understand the grief that you have suffered in Pulwama and are ready for a probe and dialogue. Let’s settle this with talks.”
3.46 pm: Here is the full text of India’s statement about Pakistan’s air strikes on Wednesday morning.
3.22 pm: One fighter aircraft of the Pakistan Air Force was shot down by the Indian Air Force MiG-21 Bison, Raveesh Kumar says. The Pakistani aircraft was seen by ground forces falling on the Pakistani side, he says. “One pilot is missing in action,” Kumar adds. “Pakistan has claimed that the pilot is in their custody, and we are ascertaining the facts.”
3.21 pm: Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar says Pakistani Air Force jets targeted military installations on the Indian side on Wednesday morning, but its attempts were “foiled successfully due to our high state of readiness and alertness”.
3.19 pm: MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar is addressing a press conference.
3.17 pm: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi threatens to boycott a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation next month in the United Arab Emirates if his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj participates in it. Swaraj has been invited as a guest of honour at the meeting.
3.12 pm: Pakistan summons India’s Acting High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia and condemns “unprovoked ceasefire violations” by India along the Line of Control, reports PTI.
3.06 pm: The Indian Railways has issued a security alert across its network, PTI reports. Security has been beefed up on board all trains in border areas and on railway premises, an official of the Railway Protection Force tells the news agency. No trains to Jammu and Kashmir have been cancelled, the official says.
2.50 pm: ANI quotes unidentified officials as saying that Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan took off in a MiG 21 Bison jet earlier in the day and has not yet returned.
2.46 pm: Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale will brief the media at 3.15 pm.
2.30 pm: The Pakistani government tweeted a video clip that purportedly showed an arrested Indian pilot “Wing Commander Abhinandan”, but have now deleted the tweet. Pakistan has claimed it has arrested two pilots, one of whom is in custody and another in hospital after getting injured.
Scroll.in has not independently verified the authenticity of the video.
2.28 pm: Opposition parties are having a meeting in Parliament premises in Delhi. The Congress has postponed a meeting of the working committee in Ahmedabad that was scheduled for Thursday.
2.18 pm: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will issue a statement soon, his party says.
2.12 pm: Pakistan had no role in the jet crash that took place in Budgam, Major General Asif Ghafoor said in his press conference some time ago.
2.06 pm: Entire airspace north of Delhi has been vacated, unidentified officials have told PTI.
1.52 pm: A clip released by the Pakistan Army shows a person, allegedly an arrested Indian pilot, identifying himself as “Wing Commander Abhinandan”, PTI reports. Scroll.in has not independently verified the authenticity of the video.
1.42 pm: In his press conference, Pakistan’s Asif Ghafoor said India needs to understand that “war is a failure of policy”. He said of Wednesday’s activity: “We engaged a nearby open space where there were no humans or military installation.”
1.38 pm: In a press conference, Union minister Arun Jaitley says, “I remember when the United States Navy SEAL had taken Osama bin Laden from Abottabad, can’t we do the same?”
Al Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden was killed in a US operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in 2011.
Jaitley says: “We could earlier only imagine, desire and get frustrated and disappointed [for failing to conduct such operations]. But today, it is possible.”
1.32 pm: Ghafoor claims the Pakistan Air Force “engaged six targets across LoC from within Pakistani airspace”. “We locked all targets with accuracy, and when we had option to fire, we acted responsibly from a safe distance,” he says. “We have capability to do anything, but we don’t want escalation. We don’t want to go towards war.”
He says Pakistan had no option left after India’s air strikes.
1.30 pm: In his press conference, Ghafoor has dismissed Indian reports that India shot down an F-16 aircraft of the Pakistan Air Force. He claims no F-16 was used in the operations, reports Geo News.
1.26 pm: Pakistan’s Major General Asif Ghafoor claims in a press conference that two Indian pilots were arrested. One was injured and is in hospital, he claims.
1.23 pm: The Army and Border Security Force have been put on the highest degree of alertness along the border, reports PTI. Educational institutions within 5 km of the Line of Control have been closed in Rajouri and Poonch districts.
1.21 pm: Flight operations at the Dehradun airport have also been temporarily suspended, ANI reports.
1.06 pm: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party accuses India of “resorting to unprovoked aggression” even as “we extended an olive branch”. “As a sovereign state we reserve the right to protect our land and our airspace,” the party says. “India must show maturity now to avoid a war with us.”
1.05 pm: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has told ARY News that his Army has demonstrated its right and capability for self-defence.
1.02 pm: Meanwhile, in the Chinese city of Wuzhen, India, China and Russia have agreed to work on a closer policy coordination to eradicate the “breeding grounds of terrorism”, reports PTI. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met her Chinese and Russian counterparts in Wuzhen earlier in the day.
1.01 pm: Unidentified defence officials have told PTI that there are no reports of any Indian Air Force jet suffering damage.
12.51 pm: Indian officials have told NDTV that all pilots have been accounted for. Pakistan had earlier claimed the one pilot had been arrested in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
12.40 pm: Here’s a sequence of what has happened so far on Wednesday.
- Indian reports in the morning said Pakistani jets had violated the Indian airspace and dropped bombs in Rajouri and Poonch districts. Unidentified officials told PTI that Indian aircraft had pushed the Pakistani jets back.
- This was followed by a statement from Pakistan, which claimed it had launched strikes across the Line of Control from “Pakistani airspace”, and that it had shot down two Indian jets. The Pakistani military claimed it arrested one Indian pilot in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
- Meanwhile, ANI also reported that India had shot down a Pakistani jet.
- The Indian government has yet to make any official comment about these alleged skirmishes and downed planes.
12.37 pm: Pakistan has also stopped domestic and international flight operations from Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Sialkot and Islamabad airports, reports ANI.
12.22 pm: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is holding a meeting at North Block. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is also present.
12.20 pm: Pakistan’s statement says: “If India is striking at so-called terrorist backers without a shred of evidence, we also retain reciprocal rights to retaliate against elements that enjoy Indian patronage while carrying out acts of terror in Pakistan. We do not wish to go to that route and wish that India gives peace a chance and to resolve issues like a mature democratic nation.”
12.16 pm: Airports in Chandigarh and Amritsar have also been closed, PTI reports.
12.14 pm: Pakistan Air Force’s F-16 that violated the Indian airspace was shot down in retaliatory fire by India, ANI reports. A parachute was seen as the aircraft was going down, the news agency reports.
12.11 pm: In an official statement, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs claims its Air Force undertook strikes across Line of Control from within Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The strikes were at “non-military target, avoiding human loss and collateral damage”, the statement claims.
11.58 am: Asif Ghafoor claims Pakistan shot down two aircraft of the Indian Air Force. One fell inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and the other on the side under India’s control, says Ghafoor. “One Indian pilot arrested by troops on ground while two in the area,” he adds.
“Sole purpose of this action was to demonstrate our right, will and capability for self defence,” says Pakistan’s Foreign Office. “We do not wish to escalate but are fully prepared if forced into that paradigm.”
11.54 am: Pakistan confirms its Air Force “undertook strikes across the Line of Control from Pakistani airspace”. Armed forces spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor says the Indian Air Force crossed the Line of Control too in response to Pakistan’s action.
11.46 am: The Srinagar, Jammu and Leh airports have been closed for civilian air traffic, an official of the Airport Authority of India confirms to PTI.
11.33 am: The Pakistani jets that entered Indian airspace and dropped bombs on Wednesday morning were pushed back by Indian aircraft, PTI reports.
11.32 am: Civilian air traffic to and from the Srinagar airport has been suspended, PTI reports.
11.29 am: Meanwhile, in Budgam, police tell ANI that two bodies have been found at the site of the crash of a military aircraft.
11.26 am: The Pakistani jets that violated Indian airspace on Wednesday morning entered Poonch and Rajouri sectors and dropped bombs on their way out, unidentified officials have told PTI.
11.24 am: Airports in Leh, Jammu, Srinagar and Pathankot are on high alert, ANI reports. The airspace has been suspended due to security reasons and many commercial flights are on hold.
11.17 am: Pakistani jets have violated Indian airspace, entering the border areas of Nowshera sector in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district, unidentified officials tell PTI.
11.14 am: France is working on a proposal to ban Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar after it assumes the presidency of the United Nations Security Council on March 1, PTI reports, quoting officials. The presidency rotates every month and is currently held by Equatorial Guinea.
11.10 am: Unidentified officials tell PTI that an Indian Air Force jet has crashed in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir. The fate of the pilot is not known yet. The crash was due to a technical flaw, News18 reports.
11.07 am: Unidentified officials tell The Economic Times that the Indian Air Force had jammed Pakistan’s surveillance system before the air strikes early on Tuesday.
11 am: Indian share markets rise sharply in early trade, recovering from the losses of the previous day after the air strikes. At 10.58 am, the BSE Sensex was up 382.74 points at 36,356.45, and the National Stock Exchange’s Nifty 50 was at 10,935.20, higher by 99.9 points.
10.40 am: Here’s a wrap of newspaper front pages on Wednesday morning. The Indian Express ran with the headline “India strikes terror, deep in Pak”. The Times Of India used wordplay to describe the Indian Air Force as “India’s Avenging Force”. The Telegraph, known for its bold headlines, said the government should “choose wisely” now that “strike thirst” was met.
10.36 am: Two suspected militants of the Jaish-e-Mohammad were killed in a gunfight with security forces in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir, PTI reports. Officials also say Pakistani troops intensely shelled Indian posts in Uri sector in the early hours of Wednesday.
10.10 am: Hussain Haqqani, a former Pakistani envoy to the US, says it is “telling” that no country has supported Pakistan after India’s air strikes, PTI reports. “Hyper-nationalist sentiment in Pakistan may not want to recognise it but the world’s patience on terrorist safe havens is running thin and that is not good for Pakistan,” he adds.
Pakistani scholar Moeed Yusuf says global opinion is against Islamabad. “Given that global opinion is with India, whether a skirmish occurs in Pakistani or Indian airspace doesn’t matter as much,” he tells PTI. “So Pakistan will do its best to absorb this strike and not escalate.”
10.05 am: France says it “recognises India’s legitimacy to ensure its security against cross-border terrorism”. Paris also asked Islamabad to “put an end to the operations of terrorist groups established on its territory”.
9.58 am: Australia has asked Pakistan to take “urgent and meaningful action in its territory” against terrorist groups, the Hindustan Times reports. “Pakistan must do everything possible to implement its own proscription of Jaish-e-Mohammed,” Foreign Minister Marise Payne says. “It can no longer allow extremist groups the legal and physical space to operate from its territory.”
9.45 am: Pompeo also spoke to Sushma Swaraj. He says, “I expressed to both Ministers that we encourage India and Pakistan to exercise restraint, and avoid escalation at any cost. I also encouraged both ministers to prioritise direct communication and avoid further military activity.”
9.40 am: The US asks Pakistan to take “meaningful action” against terrorist groups. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he spoke to Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi “to underscore the priority of de-escalating current tensions by avoiding military action, and the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action against terrorist groups operating on its soil”.
9.35 am: India does not wish to see a further escalation of the situation, and will continue to act with responsibility and restraint, Swaraj tells her Chinese and Russian counterparts in Wuzhen. She is in China for the Russia, India and China meeting.
9.32 am: Swaraj says the target of the air strikes was selected to avoid civilian casualties. “It wasn’t a military operation, no military installation targeted,” she says, according to ANI.
9.30 am: “Following the Pulwama terrorist attack, instead of taking seriously the calls by international community to act against Jaish-e-Mohammed and other terror groups based in Pakistan, it denied any knowledge of the attack and outrightly dismissed claims by Jaish-e-Mohammed,” Swaraj says.
9.26 am: Swaraj says that in the light of Pakistan’s continuing refusal to acknowledge and act against terror groups in its territory, India decided to take preemptive action.
9.25 am: Referring to the Pulwama attacks, she says: “Such dastardly terrorist attacks are a grim reminder for the need of all the countries to show zero tolerance to terrorism and take decisive action against it”, according to ANI.
9.20 am: Swaraj refers to the summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan, saying “we have made substantial progress in relations”. “It is important for both sides to make sure the through and effective implementation of the guidance given by the two leaders,” she adds. “Particularly the decision taken by our leaders to maintain strategic communication between them provided an important foundation for the development of our bilateral relations.”
9.10 am: “I am visiting China at a time when there is grief and anger in India,” she says, according to PTI. “It is the worst terrorist attack directed against our security forces in Jammu and Kashmir.” Swaraj says the United Nations has banned Jaish-e-Mohammed, but this attack is the result of the “cover” Pakistan provides to the outfit.
9 am: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj raises the Pulwama terror attack with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at Wuzhen. She is currently in China for a crucial bilateral meeting.
China had on Tuesday asked both India and Pakistan to “exercise restraint” following the air strikes.
8.55 am: Pakistan has expressed its reservation about the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s invitation to India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to attend its meeting later this week in the wake of the Indian Air Force’s pre-dawn strike on terror camps in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Tuesday. “Aggression has been done against a founding member of the OIC,” Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told his United Arab Emirates counterpart.
Here’s Scroll.in’s coverage of the air strikes.
8.50 am: Pakistan, however, has denied that India conducted strikes in its territory and has warned of retaliation. Pakistan armed forces spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor admitted that India entered its territory but claimed no damage was done.
At an all-party meeting on Tuesday, Union Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj briefed the Opposition about the strikes. All opposition parties have extended full support to the government and the security forces in the fight against terror.
Swaraj said she had also spoken to United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other foreign leaders about the preemptive strike. India’s fight is not with Pakistan, but with terror establishments, she added.
8.45 am: This is the first air strike by India across the Line of Control since 1971. The action came 12 days after a terror attack in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir killed 40 jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force. The Jaish-e-Mohammed had claimed responsibility.
8.30 am: Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale on Tuesday confirmed that Indian forces had carried out a “non-military preemptive action” against the biggest camp of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed militant outfit earlier in the day. He said the air strikes had become “absolutely necessary in the face of imminent danger”. A large number of terrorists and trainers of the militant outfit were killed in the attack, he said.