Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday claimed that India was planning a surgical strike on the country, reported the Hindustan Times.

“I have learned through our intelligence sources and they have picked up this information that India is planning a surgical strike against Pakistan,” Qureshi said, while addressing a press conference at Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates. He, however, did not share any details about his source of information or the potential attack.

He also alleged that India was seeking “tacit approval” from other countries for the operation. “This is a serious development and I also have knowledge that they have tried to seek tacit approval from important players who they consider to be their partners,” Al Jazeera quoted Qureshi as saying.

He also warned India that his country would respond befittingly, if the attack takes place. “I want to tell India very clearly that Pakistan is fully prepared to respond and to defeat their designs,” he said. “We will do it effectively as we did respond immediately and effectively in February 2019. And we will respond effectively if they choose this path.”

Pointing out matters like the situation in Kashmir, the ongoing farmers’ protest, coronavirus pandemic and the state of religious minorities in India, Qureshi claimed that India was facing an internal crisis and was planning the attack to divert attention, according to the Hindustan Times. He also mentioned the recent revelation of the EU DisinfoLab that claimed there was “a massive online and offline 15-year ongoing influence operation supporting Indian interests and discrediting Pakistan internationally”.

Surgical strikes are military operations conducted by targeting precise enemy locations through airstrikes.

On September 29, 2016, the Indian Army claimed to have carried out “surgical strikes on terror launchpads” across the Line of Control to neutralise alleged infiltrators the previous night. The strikes followed an attack on an Army base in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri, in which 17 Indian soldiers were killed.

Then, on February 26, 2019, air strikes on a camp of terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad were carried out in Pakistan’s Balakot area. This was in response to a terrorist attack on a Central Reserve Police Force convoy in Kashmir’s Pulwama on February 14, which killed 40 soldiers.

A day after the cross-border strike, India and Pakistan engaged in aerial skirmishes. On February 27, the Pakistani military claimed it had shot down two IAF jets – one had crashed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and the other fell in Jammu and Kashmir. India has maintained that Pakistan shot down one MiG-21 aircraft of the IAF while the Indian Air Force shot down a Pakistani F-16 jet during the dogfight. Pakistan had also managed to capture IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was released in a goodwill gesture and returned home on March 1.