At 3:30am of February 26, twelve days after the Pulwama attack of February 14 that claimed the lives of around 40 CRPF jawans, the Indian Air Force carried out an air strike on the camps of terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), who had claimed responsibility of the attack on the CRPF convoy.
Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said, "Credible intelligence was received that Jaish-e-Mohammed was attempting another suicide terror attack in various parts of the country and fidayeen jihadis were being trained for this purpose."
On the other hand, Imran Khan's party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf said, "We realise it's election year, and a desperation across the border. Fact of the matter is, Indian jets were forced to retreat in haste by Pakistan army patrols and dumped fuel, which in their scramble they thought was a bomb."
The air strikes, however, were carried out in a meticulous manner. Here's a timeline of the events leading up to the Indian Air Force strikes on the JeM terror camps across LoC:
- On February 15 at 9:30am, the Indian Air Force Chief BS Dhanoa presented air strike as a retaliatory response to the Pulwama attack. It was then cleared by the government.
- From February 16 to 20, the IAF and the Indian Army conducted an airborne surveillance along the LoC with Heron drones.
- From February 20 to 22, IAF and intelligence agencies drew up a map of possible sites to strike.
- On February 21, NSA Doval was presented with the target options for the air strike.
- On February 22, IAF's one Squadron Tigers and seven Squadron Battle Axes were activated for the mission.
- On February 22, two Mirage squadrons designate 12 jets for the mission.
- On February 24, trial runs were conducted over central India.
- On February 26, operation conducted at 3:30 am. NSA Doval briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the strikes.
As things heat up, authorities from both sides of the border have started a war of words. Union Minister Sushma Swaraj has called a meeting of all Opposition leaders at Jawahar Bhawan (MEA) to brief them on India's air strikes at 5:00pm today.