Twelve days after the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF soldiers were martyred in a suicide bombing led by Pakistan backed terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad, the Indian Air Force on Tuesday air struck multiple JeM terror launchpads by dropping payloads weighing as much as 1000 kilograms in the key areas of Pakistan including Muzaffarabad, Chakothi and Balakot.
Reacting to India's air strike at Pakistan, in which over 245 terrorists have been neutralised, the Australian government demanded the Pak government to take immediate and meaningful action against terrorist groups.
In the statement released by Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said that she was briefed about the IAF operation by India's Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, after the press briefing in which he confirmed about the air strike.
Here's the full statement:
The Australian government is concerned about relations between India and Pakistan following the horrific terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir on 14 February, which Australia has condemned. India’s Foreign Secretary has stated that India has now conducted operations targeting terrorist groups based in Pakistan.
Pakistan must take urgent and meaningful action against terrorist groups in its territory, including Jaish-e-Mohammed which has claimed responsibility for the 14 February bombing, and Lashkar-e-Taiba. Pakistan must do everything possible to implement its own proscription of Jaish-e-Mohammed. It can no longer allow extremist groups the legal and physical space to operate from its territory.
These steps would make a substantial contribution to easing tensions and resolving the underlying causes of conflict. Australia urges both sides to exercise restraint, avoid any action which would endanger peace and security in the region and engage in dialogue to ensure that these issues are resolved peacefully.
Earlier on Tuesday, addressing the press briefing in the aftermath of India's air strike at Pakistan, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale had confirmed that one of the terror facilities in Balakot, which was struck down by IAF's Mirage 2000, was headed by Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar's brother-in-law Maulana Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghouri.
"The JeM has been operating in Pakistan for over two decades, which is led by Masood Azhar. This organization is responsible for a series of terror attacks. Credible intelligence was received that Jaish-e-Mohammed was attempting another suicide terror attack in various parts of the country & fidayeen jihadis were being trained for this purpose. A pre-emptive strike became important. In an intelligence lead operation in the early hours today, India struck the biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot. In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commander & groups of Jihadis were eliminated. This facility in Balakot was headed by Maulana Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghauri, brother in law of JeM Chief Masood Azhar," Vijay Gokhale said.
Here's what we know so far: