Churu, February 26: Hours after the Indian Air Force's fatal raid on Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) camp in Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra told a public gathering in Rajasthan's Churu that the nation is in "safe hands". His remarks came shortly after reports claimed that nearly 300 militants have been killed in the pre-emptive strike carried out by the IAF in Balakot across the Line of Control (LoC).
Reminding the nation of his 2014 poll promise, Modi said he had taken a vow to safeguard the nation's honour. "Saugandh mujhe is mitti ki, main desh nahi jhukne dunga (I take an oath upon this soil, I will not let the country bow)," the Prime Minister said, further adding, "Today I assure the countrymen, the country is in safe hands. Here's How Opposition Leaders Reacted to Surgical Strikes 2.
The precision strikes were carried out by the IAF at around 3am, targeting the largest Jaish camp headed by JeM chief Masood Azhar's top aide and his brother-in-law Yusuf Azhar.
"Large number of JeM terrorists, trainers and senior commanders were eliminated in largest JeM camp in Balakot. Camp was led by Maulana Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghauri, brother in law of JeM chief Masood Azhar," said Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale.
Watch: How IAF Avenged Pulwama Attack With Surgical Strike in Balakote
The Indian government has further specified that the attacks were "pre-emptive", as credible intelligence inputs had warned of Pulwama-style fidayeen attacks by JeM in the near future.
Gokhale also claimed that the target of the IAF raids were carefully chosen to ensure zero collateral damage. "The selection of the target was also conditioned by our desire to avoid civilian casualty. It's located in deep forest on a hilltop," he said.
Pakistan, however, has denied sustaining any casualty in the IAF assault. Statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations claimed that the Indian forces had to "hastily retreat" after being confronted by the Pakistani air formations. The IAF, it alleged, dropped heavy metal loads in the forest region, before returning back into its territory.
"Indian aircrafts intruded from Muzaffarabad sector. Facing timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force released payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot. No casualties or damage," said Major Gen Asif Ghafoor, DG, ISPR.