India confirms airstrike in Pakistan

New Delhi – Indian Air Force fighter jets crossed the line of control in disputed Kashmir and dropped explosives in Pakistan, both countries confirmed on Tuesday.

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India said its strikes killed a large number of terrorists.

The action could possibly escalate regional tensions just days after 40 Indian paramilitary policemen were killed in a car bomb attack in India-administered Kashmir.

Kashmir is divided in two, with the other part being administered by Pakistan.

The nuclear-capable South Asian neighbours have fought two wars over the region.

India claimed it destroyed a terrorist training camp in Balakot, with Pakistan saying it scrambled its fighter jets to chase the intruders out of its airspace.

Pakistan later confirmed the strike hit the Jaba Area near Balakot in Khyber-Pakhtunwa in Pakistan.

Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, on Tuesday described it as a “non-military pre-emptive action’’ targeting a training camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammad Islamist militant group.

The group claimed responsibility for suicide car bombing in Pulwama on Feb. 14, in India-administered Kashmir.

Gokhale said heavy casualties were inflicted on the camp and its infrastructure was destroyed.

Pakistan’s fighter jets chased the “intruders’’ out of its airspace before dawn, Pakistan military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said.

Ghafoor, however, did not say if there had been any casualties.

“Under forced hasty withdrawal, aircraft released payload which had a free fall in open area. No infrastructure got hit, no casualties,’’ the spokesman tweeted.

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