India has carried out aerial bombing over the disputed border in Kashmir for the first time since it went to war with Pakistan in 1971, escalating tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
The country’s foreign secretary, Vijay Gokhale, said in a briefing that Delhi had received credible intelligence that the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which killed 40 Indian security personnel in a suicide bombing this month, was training fighters for similar attacks at the site.
“In the face of imminent danger, a pre-emptive strike became absolutely necessary,” Gokhale said.
The attack was celebrated in India, but it was unclear on Tuesday whether anything significant had been struck by the fighter jets, or whether the operation had been carefully calibrated to ease popular anger over the 14 February suicide bombing without drawing a major Pakistani reprisal.
Pakistan, which was the first to announce the incursion, said the war planes made it up to five miles inside its territory before they were rebuffed, dropping their payloads without casualties or damage.
Pakistan’s armed forces spokesman, Maj-Gen Asif Ghafoor, tweeted on Tuesday morning that the Indian jets had dropped their bombs in an empty forested area. “No infrastructure got hit, no casualties,” he wrote.
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