“Balakot has been reactivated by Pakistan very recently,” Army Chief of Staff General Bipin Rawat told reporters on Monday.
The general said the camp in northeastern Pakistan was destroyed by Indian jets in February, but “now they have got the people back there.”
Additional troops were deployed along the Line of Control (LoC) in disputed Kashmir “to ensure that the infiltration is curbed to the maximum extent,” he said.
The Balakot airstrike nearly brought the neighboring countries to war. India claims it sent the jets to bomb terrorist camps belonging to jihadist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) on Pakistani soil. The group previously carried out several deadly attacks against India, including a convoy bombing in the Pulwama district of the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir, which killed 40 military policemen.
Indian officials have accused Pakistan of secretly backing the militants. Islamabad strongly denies having ties with terrorist groups.
Pakistan also denied that the Indian airstrikes near Balakot caused any damage on the ground and accused New Delhi of violating its sovereignty. The hostilities then spiraled into cross-border shelling and open aerial combat. An Indian pilot was shot down in Pakistani airspace and quickly handed over by Pakistan to India unharmed.
The neighbors would eventually exchange a number of friendly gestures. Their relations, however, hit a new low last month, after India revoked the self-governing status of the part of Kashmir it controls. New Delhi argued that the move will help the fight against terrorism and boost the region’s economy. Pakistan heavily criticized the move, saying it violates international law and will lead to bloodshed in Kashmir.
Monday 23 September 2019 17:06