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'India struck biggest training camp of JeM' - full statement from Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale

Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale addressing the media after reports of India launching air strikes on JeM terror camps.

Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale addressing the media after reports of India launching air strikes on JeM terror camps.   | Photo Credit: V. V. Krishnan

India carried out an operation targeting the biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Balakot, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale confirmed on Tuesday at a press conference in New Delhi. He said that the Government of India is taking all measures to counter terrorism and Tuesday’s strike was necessary to pre-empt further terror attacks against India.

“In an intelligence led operation in the early hours of today, India struck the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot. In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were eliminated. The facility in Balakot was headed by Maulana Yousuf Azhar (alias Ustad Ghouri), the brother in law of Masood Azhar, chief of JeM,” the Foreign Secretary said in the press briefing.

India conducts air-strikes: follow live updates here.

The Foreign Secretary reminded that Pakistan had made a “solemn commitment in January 2004 not to allow its soil or territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India.”

He emphasised that the outfit was responsible for the attack against the CRPF personnel in Pulwama and urged Pakistan to live up to its public commitment against terrorism and take further actions against JeM and other camps.

Full statement given by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale:

On 14 February 2019, a suicide terror attack was conducted by a Pak-based terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammad, leading to the martyrdom of 40 brave jawans of the CRPF.  JeM has been active in Pakistan for the last two decades, and is led by MASOOD AZHAR with its headquarters in Bahawalpur.

 

This organization, which is proscribed by the UN, has been responsible of a series of terrorist attacks including on the Indian Parliament in December 2001 and the Pathankot airbase in January 2016.

Information regarding the location of training camps in Pakistan and PoJK has been provided to Pakistan from time to time.  Pakistan, however, denies their existence.  The existence of such massive training facilities capable of training hundreds of jidhadis could not have functioned without the knowledge of Pakistan authorities.

India has been repeatedly urging Pakistan to take action against the JeM to prevent jihadis from being trained and armed inside Pakistan.  Pakistan has taken no concrete actions to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism on its soil. 

Credible intelligence was received that JeM was attempting another suicide terror attack in various parts of the country, and the fidayeen jihadis were being trained for this purpose.  In the face of imminent danger,  a preemptive strike became absolutely necessary.

In an intelligence led operation in the early hours of today, India struck the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot.  In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were eliminated.  This facility at Balakot was headed by MAULANA YOUSUF AZHAR (alias USTAD GHOURI), the brother-in-law of MASOOD AZHAR, Chief of JeM.

The Government of India is firmly and resolutely committed to taking all necessary measures to fight the menace of terrorism.  Hence this non-military preemptive action was specifically targeted at the JeM camp.  The selection of the target was also conditioned by our desire to avoid civilian casualties.  The facility is located in thick forest on a hilltop far away from any civilian presence.  As the strike has taken place only a short while  ago, we are awaiting further details. 

The Government of Pakistan had made a solemn commitment in January 2004 not to allow its soil or territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India.  We expect that Pakistan lives up to its public commitment and takes follow up actions to dismantle all JeM and other camps and hold the terrorists accountable for the actions.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 5:25:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-struck-biggest-training-camp-of-jem-foreign-sec-confirms/article26372319.ece

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