The Jaish-e-Mohammad's training facility at Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan was so huge that it could train hundreds of “jihadis”, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said in New Delhi on Tuesday.
“The existence of such massive training facilities capable of training hundreds of jihadis could not have functioned without the knowledge of Pakistan authorities,” Foreign Secretary told journalists in New Delhi hours after the Indian Air Force aircraft carried out a strike on the biggest training facility of the JeM.
He said that the air-strike destroyed the camp and killed “a large number of terrorists”.
The air-strike came 12 days after the JeM carried out a suicide attack at Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir killing over 40 CRPF personnel.
The JeM came into existence in 2000— just a few months after New Delhi had to release its founder Masood Azhar, incarcerated in India since 1994, to secure the release of 155 passengers, who had been held hostage on board the hijacked Indian Airlines' Kathmandu-Delhi flight IC 814.
Gokhale noted that the JeM, which was proscribed by the UN, had been responsible for a series of terrorist attacks including on the Indian Parliament in New Delhi in December 2001 and Indian Air Force (IAF) base at Pathankot in Punjab in January 2016.
He noted that information regarding the location of the training camps of the JeM and other terrorist outfits in Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir territories under control of Pakistan had been provided to Pakistan government from time to time. But Pakistan government continued to deny the existence of the camps, added Gokhale.
New Delhi has been repeatedly urging Islamabad to take action against the JeM to prevent jihadis from being trained and armed inside Pakistan.
“Pakistan has taken no concrete actions to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism on its soil,” Foreign Secretary said.
He recalled that the government of Pakistan had made a solemn commitment in January 2004 not to allow its soil or territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India.
“We expect that Pakistan lives up to its public commitment and takes follow up actions to dismantle all JeM and other camps and hold the terrorists accountable for the actions,” he said.