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India's military acted to protect country, minister says after air raids

  • Published at 02:21 pm February 26th, 2019
Web-Prakash-Javadekar-Reuters
Prakash Javadekar speaks on his phone before an interview with Reuters inside his office in New Delhi, September 21, 2015 Reuters

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has called an emergency meeting over the situation

India’s military has taken the steps necessary to defend the country, a government minister has said after Indian combat planes carried out raids on alleged militant camps in Pakistan.

Prakash Javadekar, human resource development minister, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given the military free rein to respond to an attack on an Indian security convoy, in disputed Kashmir, on February 14; one that had raised tensions.

Pakistan downplayed Tuesday’s incident, saying there were no casualties and that Indian jets “released a payload” hastily in a forest area after crossing Kashmir’s Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border between the two countries, reports Reuters.

“This was a necessary step for the defense of the country, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given the armed forces a free hand. The whole country stands behind the armed forces,” said Javadekar.

Pakistani PM calls 'important meeting'

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has called an emergency meeting to discuss the emerging situation following Indian Air Force's (IAF) violation of the Line of Control, Dawn News reported quoting Radio Pakistan.

Earlier on Tuesday, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi summoned an emergency meeting at the Foreign Office in Islamabad, to discuss the security situation with former secretaries and senior ambassadors.

During the meeting, Qureshi had said that Pakistan desires peace but India is deteriorating the regional situation. He said that Pakistan is moving forward while demonstrating the behaviour of a responsible state, reported Radio Pakistan.

He claimed that India is bent on disturbing peace in the region, and that the entire region stands with the Pakistan Army.

Qureshi is expected to brief the media after the meeting with the prime minister wraps up.

In a statement following the LoC violation, Qureshi warned India not to challenge Pakistan and said that better sense should prevail in Delhi.

He added that Pakistan reserves the right to deliver an appropriate response and the right to self-defense.

The foreign minister said Pakistan should not be worried about the Indian act as the defenders of the country are fully-prepared to respond to any misadventure.

Meanwhile, India's Cabinet Committee on Security met at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence in Delhi, reported Asian News International. 

India's foreign secretary has also issued a statement on the incident.

Earlier on Tuesday, Pakistani Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor confirmed that the IAF had "violated the LoC." He said that as Indian planes had intruded from Muzaffarabad, the Pakistan Air Force "immediately scrambled."

Ghafoor told reporters that Indian aircrafts' intrusion over the LoC—in the Muzafarabad sector within Azad Jammu and Kashmir—was by three-to-four miles. 

He claimed that under a forced, hasty, withdrawal, the Indian aircrafts released the payload which free-fell in open area causing no damage to infrastructure, and no casualties.