Opposition hails IAF strike on Jem camp in Pakistan (Roundup)

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New Delhi, Feb 26 (IANS) Opposition leaders on Monday hailed the Indian attack on a terrorist camp deep into Pakistan, congratulating the Indian Air Force which carried out the strike at Jaish-e-Mohammed’s (JeM) biggest training camp at Balakot in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) action came 12 days after a JeM suicide bomber killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force troopers at Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj convened an all party meeting here to inform them about the IAF action.

“I am happy that all members congratulated Indian Air Force and supported all investigations initiated against terror attacks.

“All the parties in one voice praised the security forces and supported the government’s anti-terror operations,” she said after the meeting that was attended by CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, Trinamool Congress’ Derek O’Brien among others.

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Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad lauded the operation for not incurring any collateral damage.

“We have appreciated the efforts by the forces, they always have our support to end terrorism. Another good thing is that it was a clean operation which specifically targeted terrorists and terror camps,” Azad told the media after the all-party meeting.

Yechury termed it an “effective strike by the IAF destroying the biggest JeM camp in Pakistan”.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi, addressing a rally in Assam, said: “I congratulate and salute the pilots of the IAF.”

While hailing the action, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati said the Modi government ought to have given a free hand to military much earlier.

“IAF strike destroying terrorist camps across Line of Control (LoC) is welcome action. Salute and respect to their bravery.

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“Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave free hand to Army only after Pulwama attack. Had it been earlier, Pathankot, Uri & Pulwama-like tragedy and loss of precious lives of jawans could have been averted,” she said.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, however, cited the 1999 Kargil war and then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s subsequent electoral fate.

“For all those looking at today’s air strikes through a political/electoral prism it might be worth remembering that PM Vajpayee went in to the 1999 elections with nuclear tests and victory in Kargil under his belt & still only returned to power with a coalition,” he said in a series of tweets.

He also called the air strike a huge embarrassment for Pakistan.

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

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“That’s a strike deep inside Pakistan & is hugely embarrassing for them. Regardless of what the other side may claim was or wasn’t hit the planes crossed over, dropped their payload & flew back completely unscathed,” he said.

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party supremo Arvind Kejriwal, in a tweet, said: “I salute the bravery of Indian Air Force pilots who have made us proud by striking terror targets in Pakistan.”

Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav also took to Twitter to congratulate the IAF.

“IAF also means India’s Amazing Fighters. Jai Hind,” tweeted West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee.

–IANS

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