Following the strike by Indian Air Force (IAF) on the JeM camp in Balakot, Pakistan in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, and Pakistan claiming the ‘right to respond’, the Line of Control (LoC) is now ‘actively under fire’ with exchanges from both sides. Officials say four people, including two children, were killed and seven injured in an exchange of fire between the Indian and Pakistani troops in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK).
The United States has expressed alarm and urged the two nuclear-powered nations to ‘avoid further military action’. The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a statement issued in Washington DC, said they encourage India and Pakistan to exercise restraint and avoid escalation at any cost. Pompeo said “He held separate conversations with the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan and encouraged both ministers to prioritize direct communication and avoid further military activity.”
Related Article:IAF bombs JeM training camps across PoK
Tension between India and Pakistan took a dramatic turn after IAF bombed a JeM training camp. India’s Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for action were eliminated. Gokhale added that “the existence of such training facilities, capable of training hundreds of jihadis could not have functioned without the knowledge of the Pakistani authorities.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan has downplayed the aerial strike and said it has the right to retaliate. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said “better sense’ should prevail and warned India not to challenge Pakistan.
The Jaish-e-Mohammed, headed by Masood Azhar, is a Pakistan-based militant group that has been on the US terror list since 2001. In December 2001, JeM carried out an attack on India’s parliament. JeM is also responsible for the Pulwama terror attack that claimed the lives of more than 40 CRPF soldiers.