On Tuesday, a dozen Indian Air Force (IAF) jets crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and bombed Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror camps.
JeM is a Pakistan-based terror group that took responsibility for the attack in Pulwama that killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans.
In retaliation, the IAF crossed into Balakot, Pakistan, and dropped payloads on terror camps it believed to belong to JeM.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that “a large number” of JeM terrorists, trainers, and senior commanders were killed.
India and Pakistan’s responses
Indo-Pak tensions have escalated swiftly since the Balakot strikes on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, IAF and the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) engaged in aerial combat—an incident that has not taken place since the 1971 war.
While all political leaders in India expressed their support for the IAF and Armed Forces, many have also emphatically called for diplomatic solutions.
“JeM hit Indian forces & claimed the attack. In turn Indian forces hit JeM & owned that air strike”, said Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). “It’s now time for cooler heads to prevail. War is never an ideal option to resolve disputes. Let’s go back to the India-Saudi joint statement of last week.”
Tehreek-e-Insaf, a Pakistani political party, asked for people to stop war mongering because South Asia needs peace and stability.
“In times of war drums beating, it is the acts of kindness that will be remembered. We want India and the world today to see how Pakistan army rescued the Indian Air Force Officer from an angry mob & treated him w/dignity”, said the party. “Say NO to the attempts to start a war. #LetBetterSensePrevail”
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan echoed a similar sentiment. In a statement released, he asked to settle the Pulwama and Balakot issues through dialogue.
“Pakistan is fully ready to cooperate with any investigation that India wants”, said Khan passionately.
He also referred to the nuclear capabilities of both, India and Pakistan, and said that neither side can afford a “miscalculation”.
Countries all over the world, even outside of the South Asian region, have commented strongly on the rocky Indo-Pak relations.
In a trilateral meeting with Russia and China, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj “exchanged views” on regional and global challenges of terrorism.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with Swaraj.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang said, “We hope the two sides will exercise restraint and take actions that will help stabilise situation in the region… terrorism is a global challenge that calls for cooperation between countries”.
Swaraj also met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi who stressed that India and Pakistan should reach a consensus.
Eastern European countries like Poland and Estonia hoped that India and Pakistan can stabilise the region through dialogue.
The European Union (EU) countries like France have also called on India and Pakistan to stay military aggression.
In a statement, France said it was “concerned at the deteriorating situation” and that “bilateral dialogue between Islamabad and New Delhi is necessary”.
It added, “The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs is closely monitoring the situation and our embassies in New Delhi and Islamabad are mobilized to help our citizens.”
The EU has also asked Pakistan to take “clear and sustained actions targeting not only all UN-listed transnational terrorist groups but also individuals claiming responsibility for such attacks”.
In a press release, Chair of South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has asked India and Pakistan not to engage in acts the will threaten security in South Asia.
“It also urges them to seek solution through dialogue and peaceful means in order to ease tension and normalize the situation.”
India has not yet responded to PM Khan’s offer to cooperate with investigations and de-escalate tensions.
Rhea Arora is a staff writer for Qrius