External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said that the Indian air strikes in Pakistan’s Balakot on 26 February did not kill a single Pakistani soldier or citizen. The Indian Air Force had carried out the air strikes deep inside Pakistan on 26 February, days after the Pulwama terror attack left more than 40 CRPF soldiers dead.
Swaraj, according to news agency PTI, said that India had carried out the air strikes in ‘self-defence.’ “When we carried out air strikes across the border after the Pulwama terror attack, we had told the international community that we took that step in self-defence only. We had told the international community that the armed forces were instructed not to harm any Pakistani citizen or its soldier during the strike,” she was quoted as saying.
Swaraj said that the ‘the army was told to target only the terror camps of the Jaish-e-Mohammed,’ which had claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack. “And, our Army did the same without harming any Pakistani citizen or soldier,” Swaraj added, according to news agency PTI.
The Indian Air Force had carried out the air strikes in Balakot on 26 February, 12 days after a suicide bomber killed 45 CRPF soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district. BJP President Amit Shah had claimed that the air strikes had killed more than 250 terrorists. However, Pakistan has rejected India’s claims. A report by The Wire website had quoted BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra too as saying that the Indian air strikes left 400 casualties in Balakot.
Another union minister, SS Ahluwalia, had told reporters in Kolkata the Indian air strikes had not caused any fatalities in Balakot since the purpose was to just frighten the enemy and not cause casualties. He had said, “By entering their territory, we were able to send a clear message that we are capable of causing destruction. This is what was needed. We gave the message that we could enter your house despite all your security arrangements and identify the location, which we can destroy.”