Statement by Secretary of Foreign Affairs strike on Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp in Balakot

On February 14, 2019, a Pakistani Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorist organization carried out a suicide attack, which resulted in the martyrdom of 40 brave members of the Indian Central Reserve Police. JeM has been active in Pakistan for two decades. Its headquarters are in Bahawalpur and it is managed by Masood Azhar.

This organization, banned by the United Nations, was responsible for a series of terrorist attacks, including against the Indian Parliament in December 2001 and the Pathankot Air Force Base in January 2016.

Information concerning the location of training camps in Pakistan and the region occupied by Pakistan has been provided to Pakistan from time to time. Pakistan, however, denies their existence. The existence of training facilities of such a size, capable of training hundreds of jihadists, could not have functioned without the knowledge of the Pakistani authorities.

India has repeatedly urged Pakistan to take measures against the JeM to prevent jihadists from being trained and armed in Pakistan. Pakistan has not taken any concrete steps to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure on its soil.

Credible reports were received that JeM) was attempting another suicide attack in different parts of the country and Fijian jihadists were being trained for this purpose. In the face of imminent danger, a pre-emptive strike has become absolutely necessary.

In the early hours of today, India hit the largest Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp in Balakot. In this operation, a very large number of terrorists, trainers, high commanders and jihadists trained in the suicide attacks in Jaish-e-Mohammed were eliminated. This Balakot centre was run by Maulana Yousuf Azhar (alias Ustad Ghouri), brother-in-law of Masood Azhar, head of the Jaish-e-Mohammed.

The Government of India is firmly committed to taking all necessary measures to combat the threat of terrorism. Consequently, this non-military preventive action was specifically targeted at the JeM camp. The choice of target was also conditioned by our will to avoid civilian casualties. The facility is located in a dense forest on top of a hill, far from any civilian presence. As the strike took place not long ago, we are waiting for further details.

In January 2004, the Government of Pakistan solemnly pledged not to allow its territory under its control to be used for terrorist purposes against India. We expect Pakistan to respect its public commitment and take follow-up action to dismantle all JeM and other camps and hold terrorists accountable for their actions.

TunisianMonitorOnline (Statement)

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