It was a 'pre-emptive, non-military' attack on 'terror camps', India says

India's Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale speaks during a media briefing in New Delhi, India, February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
  • Foreign Secretary of India VK Gokhale makes the first official statement from India after the air strikes across the Line of Control
  • India calls the strike by the Air Force as 'pre-emptive, non-military' attack on terror camps
  • The attack by Indian Air Force has come days after a terror attack by Jaish-e-Mohammad operatives killed 40 Indian security personnel in Kashmir

India's first official statement on the air attack across the Line of Control has come from the country's Foreign Secretary VK Gokhale.

"Credible intel was received that JeM was planning more suicide attacks in India. In the face of imminent danger, a preemptive strike became absolutely necessary," Gokhale said in the first government address after the Indian air strike on Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir. Top commanders were eliminated in the strike, he added.

Indian Air Force fighter jets dropped 1,000 kilos of bombs across the Line of Control with Pakistan before returning, said several media reports suggested earlier in the day.

He also called the attack 'non-military' and that it was targeted specifically at Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camps. "We avoided civilian casualties with the selection of the camp, which is located deep inside forests, Gokhale said.

Gokhale's statement mentioned the attack by terrorists in Pulwama, Kashmir on February 14 that killed over 40 Indian troopers. However, he did not clearly say that this attack from the Indian side was retaliatory.

Gokhale refused to take any questions from the journalists present at the briefing.

India responded to a similar attack by Pakistan-based terrorists in 2016 with the surgical strikes by the army. At that time, the first briefing was addressed by the army chief. However, India has a struck diplomatic tone by letting the top foreign ministry official take the stage.

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