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Balakot Terror Camps Active Again

Terror camps in Pakistan’s Balakot are active again, Army chief Bipin Rawat said on Monday, almost seven months after the Indian Air Force destroyed the complex run by the Jaish-e-Mohammad in retaliation for the Pulwama terror attack.

General Rawat added that close to 500 infiltrators are waiting to infiltrate into India. Balakot has been reactivated by Pakistan very recently. That shows that Balakot has been affected. It had been damaged and destroyed. And that is why people have away from there and now it has been reactivated,” he told reporters at the Officers Training Academy.

“…some action had been taken by Indian Air Force and now they have the people back there,” he said.

A fleet of IAF jets had destroyed terror launch pads in Balakot in a pre-dawn aerial attack carried out on February 27. During the aerial confrontation, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman brought down a Pakistani F-16 but was taken prisoner near the Line of Control (LoC). He was later release by Islamabad.

Pakistan had also decided to restrict access to its airspace after the Balakot strikes, resulting in a loss of 8.5 billion Pakistani rupees.

The airspace was opened in July, but Pakistani leaders have in recent weeks given statements on airspace closure following India’s move to scrap special status for Jammu and Kashmir.     The Army Chief’s comments come days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to discuss the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Yesterday, at the mega “Howdy, Modi!” event in Houston, where he shared a stage with US President Donald Trump, the PM took on Pakistan and said it was time to fight against terrorism and those who supported terror. “Whether it is 9/11 in America or 26/11 in Mumbai, where are its conspirators found? Not just you, the world knows who these people are,” he said without naming Pakistan.

On February 26, a dozen French-origin Mirage 2000 jets of the Indian Air Force penetrated deep inside Pakistan and bombed the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad camp in response to a terror attack in which a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb near a convoy of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama, killing 40 soldiers.

At the UN later this week, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, set to speak after PM Modi, is likely to try and bring up India’s move to scrap special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and divide it into two Union Territories.

Pakistan’s move to re-activate the Balakot Jaish camp belies its commitment to the international community on not giving shelter to terrorists on its soil.

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