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India launches airstrike in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir targeting 'terror camps'

India launched an air strike on Pakistan which was targeted at "terror camps" of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) group in the town Balakot early Tuesday morning.

The overnight raid comes in light of a deadly suicide bombing earlier this month that killed more than 40 Indian soldiers, which the Pakistan-based JeM group claimed responsibility for. The bomber, who made a video before the attack on Feb. 14, was a resident of Indian Kashmir.

Pakistan has denied involvement in the attack but has vowed to respond to any Indian military operation against it. After news broke of the air strike on Tuesday morning, anti-India rallies were held in Pakistan, as angry residents burned the Indian flag.

The strike is a significant move escalating tensions in an already increasingly violent conflict. India claims the strike killed a "very large number" of Pakistani militants, but Pakistan says that there was no damage or casualties as a result of the strike.

Pakistan's military spokesman, Maj. Gen Asif Ghafoor, said the Indian "aircrafts" crossed into the Muzafarabad sector of Kashmir, which is split between the two countries but claimed by each in its entirety. He said Pakistan scrambled fighters and the Indian jets "released payload in haste" near Balakot, on the edge of Pakistani-ruled Kashmir.

In response to Tuesday's attack, Pakistan has said the country will respond "at the time and place of its choosing," BBC reports.

India's foreign secretary, Vijay Gokhale, told reporters in New Delhi that Indian fighter aircraft targeted JeM camps in a pre-emptive strike after intelligence indicated another attack was being planned.

"Credible intel [intelligence] was received that JeM was planning more suicide attacks in India. In the face of imminent danger, a pre-emptive strike became absolutely necessary," he said.

"Acting on intelligence, India early today stuck the biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot," he continued. "In this operation a very large number of Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and Jehadis being trained were eliminated."

Pakistan has outlawed Jaish-e-Mohammed and seized its properties in south Punjab's Bawahalpur area, including religious schools and mosques. India has demanded that Jaish-e-Mohammad leader, Azhar Masood, be listed as a terrorist by the United Nations, but has been stymied by China.

Balakot police chief Saghir Hussain Shah told The Associated Press that he sent teams to the area where the Indian bombs reportedly hit, which he described as a mostly deserted wooded area.

"There are no casualties, there are no damages on the ground because of the dropping of the bombs," he said.

There was no immediate explanation for the differing accounts, but India and Pakistan routinely contradict the other.


Indian soldiers examine the debris after an explosion in Lethpora in south Kashmir's Pulwama district February 14, 2019. (Reuters)

This is the second attack in Kashmir in February alone, as the disputed region remains occupied by Indian soldiers. The Feb. 14 attack, in which a suicide car bomber crashed into a van carrying Indian police officers, was the worst on Indian forces since the start of the 1989 insurgency in Kashmir and came as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in the middle of a re-election campaign.

Insurgents in Kashmir have been demanding either outright independence or union with Pakistan. India routinely accuses Pakistan of arming and training militants who cross the mountainous Himalayan region. In the last year, an increasingly bloody crackdown on insurgents in Indian-ruled Kashmir has escalated tensions in the troubled region.

Kashmir has been the cause of two previous wars between the uneasy nuclear neighbors. They fought a third war in 1979 over East Pakistan, which gained its independence with the help of India and became Bangladesh.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi condemned Tuesday's incursion, saying New Delhi had "endangered" peace in the region for political gains.

"We are a responsible nation and our forces are capable to defend each every inch of our motherland," he told a local television channel.

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Two countries with nukes that have fought wars over Kashmir before … what could possibly go wrong? <sarc>


 

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Don't let "good enough" be the enemy of perfect.
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Strange things can happen when 2 obscure nations go at it:

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On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb Yugoslav nationalist, assassinated the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, leading to the July Crisis.[12][13] In response, on 23 July Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia. Serbia's reply failed to satisfy the Austrians, and the two moved to a war footing.

A network of interlocking alliances enlarged the crisis from a bilateral issue in the Balkans to one involving most of Europe. By July 1914, the great powers of Europe were divided into two coalitions: the Triple Entente—consisting of France, Russia and Britain—and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy (the Triple Alliance was primarily defensive in nature, allowing Italy to stay out of the war in 1914).[14]

Russia felt it necessary to back Serbia and, after Austria-Hungary shelled the Serbian capital of Belgrade on the 28th, partial mobilisation was approved.[15] General Russian mobilisation was announced on the evening of 30 July; on the 31st, Austria-Hungary and Germany did the same, while Germany demanded Russia demobilise within 12 hours.[16]

When Russia failed to comply, Germany declared war on 1 August in support of Austria-Hungary, with Austria-Hungary following suit on 6th; France ordered full mobilisation in support of Russia on 2 August.[17]

German strategy for a war on two fronts against France and Russia was to rapidly concentrate the bulk of its army in the West to defeat France within four weeks, then shift forces to the East before Russia could fully mobilise; this was later known as the Schlieffen Plan.[18] On 2 August, Germany demanded free passage through Belgium, an essential element in achieving a quick victory over France.[19] When this was refused,

German forces invaded Belgium on 3 August and declared war on France the same day; the Belgian government invoked the 1839 Treaty of London and in compliance with its obligations under this, Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August.[20][21] On 12 August, Britain and France also declared war on Austria-Hungary; on the 23rd, Japan sided with the Entente, seizing German possessions in China and the Pacific. In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Alliance, opening fronts in the Caucasus, Mesopotamia and the Sinai Peninsula. The war was fought in and drew upon each powers' colonial empires as well, spreading the conflict to Africa and across the globe. The Entente and its allies would eventually become known as the Allied Powers, while the grouping of Austria-Hungary, Germany and their allies would become known as the Central Powers.
The German advance into France was halted at the Battle of the Marne and by the end of 1914, the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, marked by a long series of trench lines that changed little until 1917 (the Eastern Front, by contrast, was marked by much greater exchanges of territory). In 1915, Italy joined the Allied Powers and opened a front in the Alps. The Kingdom of Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in 1915 and the Kingdom of Greece joined the Allies in 1917, expanding the war in the Balkans.

The United States initially remained neutral, although by doing nothing to prevent the Allies from procuring American supplies whilst the Allied blockade effectively prevented the Germans from doing the same the U.S. became an important supplier of war material to the Allies.

Eventually, after the sinking of American merchant ships by German submarines, and the revelation that the Germans were trying to incite Mexico to make war on the United States, the U.S. declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917. Trained American forces would not begin arriving at the front in large numbers until mid-1918, but ultimately the American Expeditionary Force would reach some two million troops.[22]
 

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It all goes back to Britain breaking up their Empire in a rather sloppy fashion (under heavy pressure from the US government of the time to do so). They let the Hindu Maharaja ruler of the contested province determine whether it went to Pakistan or India, rather than going by the majority of the population, and Jammu and Kashmir's Hindu Maharaja decided India with the bulk of the population being Muslims that wanted to join Pakistan. Fun times ever since.
 

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Don't let "good enough" be the enemy of perfect.
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There used to be a "West Pakistan" and an "East Pakistan" on the left and right sides of India.

I never did understand how that was supposed to work.
 
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