Modi chairs CCS, IAF on high alert
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was underway on Tuesday in the wake of reports claimed by Islamabad that Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and returned after dropping a payload in Pakistan.
All the IAF bases were on high alert anticipating a reaction from Pakistan to the strikes carried out by the Indian fighter jets in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Balakot early on Tuesday.
Sources said that the IAF bases along the borders and inside are fully geared to deal with any eventuality. Air defence systems were activated to deal with any intruders along the International Border and the LoC.
The airborne radars were keeping a close vigil on the activities inside Pakistan, the sources added.
The CCS meeting was also attended by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and other government officials.
Though the Centre was yet to make an official statement, Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat tweeted that the IAF carried out aerial strikes across the LoC and destroyed terrorist camps.
Shekhawat is the first functionary of the government to confirm from the Indian side that the strikes have taken place.
Some of the prominent veterans, who retired recently, have already hailed the move.
"Air strikes by 12 Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft at terror camps in Balakot this morning. 1,000 kg precision bombs used. Pakistan accepts. See images below," tweeted retired Lt Gen Satish Dua, who served as chief of the integrated staff to the chairman of the chiefs of staff committee till November 2018.
Former Director General of Military Operations retired Lieutenant General Vinod Bhatia said that India demonstrated political and military will by "apparently" employing the air strikes.
He added that there was a need to raise cost for Pakistan and the Pakistan Army to ensure they do not carry out terror attacks against India.
"Picture abhi baaki hai," he said.
The CCS meeting comes after the Director General of Pakistan's Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Asif Ghafoor confirmed in a tweet early Tuesday that the IAF planes dropped the payload near Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa before leaving in haste as the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) scrambled its war planes.
The alleged incident took place in the Muzaffarabad sector, claimed Radio Pakistan.
Tuesday's development follows a suicide attack on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir, on February 14 that killed 40 troopers.
The attack was claimed by Pakistan-based militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), and prompted a spike in tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.-IANS