Kashmir Indepth

Totally new ball game: Omar Abdullah on IAF strike

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah Tuesday said the strikes carried out by the Indian Air Force on JeM camps is a “totally new ball game” as it was first time that air power was used during peace time to hit militant targets in the neighbouring country.

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“We’ve entered a whole new paradigm with the Balakote air strike. The post Uri strike was to avenge our losses, Balakote was a ‘preemptive strike to prevent an imminent JeM attack’. Totally new ballgame,” Abdullah tweeted.

The former chief minister was reacting to the statement made by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale in New Delhi that India conducted a major preemptive strike on Jaish-e-Mohammed’s biggest camp early Tuesday to prevent suicide attacks being planned by the Pakistan-based terror group, killing a large number of militants and trainers.

“A number of firsts from Balakote, the two most obvious are the first time air power has been used to strike inside Pakistan during peace times (last time in 1971 was during war) & first time visible, acknowledged use of force to preempt a perceived terror strike,” Abdullah added.

Reacting to the developments, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti expressed hope that the “objectives” of both New Delhi and Islamabad had been served as they were making contradictory claims about the air strikes.

“Post pre-dawn strikes carried out by IAF, conflicting reports coming in. Official communique by FS claims that terror training camps were bombed while Pak denied this & said that the planes made a hasty retreat after being spotted. Hope objective of both sides has been served,” she said in a tweet.

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