Cutting across party lines, political leaders on Tuesday lauded the Indian Air Force for carrying out air strikes at terror targets inside Pakistan.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was chairing a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security where National Security Advisor Ajit Doval briefed them about the IAF action.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley were present at the meeting.
"I salute the pilots of the IAF," Congress President Rahul Gandhi said on Twitter even as Congress leaders congratulated the IAF for the air strikes.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal lauded the IAF for the action.
BSP chief Mayawati also congratulated the IAF bravehearts, but added that the BJP government should have given a free hand to the armed forces earlier.
“PM had given a free hand to the armed forces after the martyrdom of jawans at Pulwama. Had the PM given a free hand to the armed forces earlier, incidents such as at Pathankot, Uri and Pulwama would not have taken place,” Mayawati said.
“Salute to Indian Air Force for giving befitting reply to the terrorists operating from POK,” NCP chief Sharad Pawar said.
Though Pakistan admitted that IAF jets had dropped payload at Balakot, it was not immediately clear whether it was referring to the small town in Khyber Pakhtunwa (KPK) province or Balakot along the Line of Control.
“If this is Balakote in KPK it’s a major incursion & a significant strike by IAF planes. However if it’s Balakote in Poonch sector, along the LoC it’s a largely symbolic strike because at this time of the year forward launch pads & militant camps are empty & non-functional,” former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said.
“I salute the bravery of Indian Air Force pilots who have made us proud by striking terror targets in Pakistan,” Delhi Chief Minister and AAP Convenor Arvind Kejriwal said.
“IAF also means India's Amazing Fighters. Jai Hind,” Mamata Banerjee said.
“Hail the efforts of Indian Air Force,” Naidu said.
“We salute bravery of our pilots and Air Force. We are blessed and proud of our forces. Jai Hind,” RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said.
"Balakot which is quite far out into the LOC is a deep strike and purportedly where Hafeez Saeed gives a lot of his addresses. If IAF penetrated that deep without casualties it's a highly successful mission," Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.
"Indian Air Force Strikes at Balakot don't have official word yet but the helter skelter by Pakistan seems like something big has happened. The IAF has gone beyond POK & into Pakistan near their capital while they were busy counting alms received from Saudi & China," Singhvi said.
"Jai Hind! Hit them hard, hit them where it hurts- their home grown terror camps," Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi said.