India ‘responded’ after Pakistan’s denial on Pulwama, Swaraj tells Russia, China


–India’s foreign minister says Delhi ‘does not wish to see a further escalation of the situation and  will continue to act with responsibility and restraint’


Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj Wednesday said that the limited objective of the pre-emptive strike in Balakot across the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan was to act decisively against the terrorist infrastructure of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) to pre-empt another terrorist attack in India.

“In the light of the continued refusal of Pakistan to acknowledge and act against terror groups on its territory and based on credible information that JeM is planning other attacks in various parts of India, the government of India has decided to take pre-emptive action,” Swaraj said.

“The target was selected in order to avoid civilian casualties. Excellences, this was not a military operation. No military installations were targeted,” she added.

India described the air strike, in which government officials claimed that over 300 terrorists, trainers and commanders may have been killed, as a “non-military pre-emptive action”.

Swaraj was making her opening remarks during the 16th Russia, India and China (RIC) foreign ministers’ forum being held in Wuzhen, a picturesque water town in eastern China’s Zhejiang province.

“India does not wish to see a further escalation of the situation and India will continue to act with responsibility and restraint,” she said.

Swaraj earlier told her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi that the worst attack on its soldiers in Kashmir’s Pulwama district earlier this month was carried out by JeM under the cover and impunity given it to by Pakistan.

“The attack was carried by JeM, the Pakistan-based and supported terrorist organisation,” Swaraj told Wang on Wednesday during her bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the RIC meet.

“I am visiting China at a time when there is grief and anger in India. It is the worst terrorist attack directed against our security forces in Jammu and Kashmir,” she said.

Stating that the JeM is banned by the United Nations and other countries, Swaraj told Wang that “… This terrorist attack is a direct result of the impunity and cover provided to the JeM and its leaders by the Pakistani side”.

“After the Pulwama attack, the entire UN has spoken with a full voice to condemn it,” she said.