A day after India sent its fighter jets across the Line of Control to strike a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp within Pakistan, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj said in China that India wants to avoid any “further escalation of the situation” and will “continue to act with responsibility and restraint”.
The Foreign Minister made a strong statement against Pakistan and its refusal to act against terrorist groups on its soil in China. Justifying the pre-dawn air strike in Pakistan’s Balakot, Sushma Swaraj also spoke about the “grief and anger” in India after the Pulwama terror attack, in which 40 soldiers were killed by a suicide bomber of the Jaish.
Sushma Swaraj, in China to attend the 16th Russia-India-China or RIC foreign ministers’ meeting in Wuzhen, stressed during talks with her counterparts from Beijing and Moscow that “no military installations were targeted” in the air strike, and the target was selected to avoid civilian casualties.
“In the light of continuing refusal of Pakistan to acknowledge and act against terror groups on its territory, and based on credible information that JeM was planning other attacks in parts of India, the Government of India decided to take pre-emptive action and the target was selected in order to avoid civilian casualties,” said the External Affairs Minister.
“The limited objective of the pre-emptive strike was to act decisively against the terrorist infrastructure of the JeM in order to pre-empt another terrorist attack in India,” she added.
Ms Swaraj went on to say that “India does not wish to see a further escalation of the situation. India will continue to act with responsibility and restraint.”
The meeting took place just over 24 hours after Indian Air Force fighter planes struck what the government says was the biggest terror training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot, calling it a “non-military, pre-emptive strike” to prevent more attacks like Pulwama.