New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) bases in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) were, on Wednesday, put on high alert after the government received inputs regarding possible suicide attacks on them, by the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), in the union territory.
The development comes just two days after Army Chief General Bipin Rawat revealed in Chennai that the Balakot camp of the terror group in Pakistan, which was targeted by the IAF in February, has been reactivated.
According to reports, intelligence agencies have issued warning that 8-10 terrorists of the JeM might try to carry out suicide attacks against the IAF airbases in J&K. Following this, an ‘orange alert’, which is the second-highest level of alert after ‘red alert’, has been sounded for IAF bases in Srinagar, Awantipora, Jammu, Pathankot and Hindon. An orange alert entails the closure of schools and restriction on movements in airbases.
Tensions between India and Pakistan have spiked since New Delhi, in a surprise move, on August 5, revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and ended its statehood as well. Post this, Islamabad has gone to the extent of even threatening India with a ‘nuclear war.’
This is the second round of tensions between the two countries. In February, more than 40 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were martyred when their convoy was targeted by a suicide bomber of the JeM. In retaliation, the IAF struck the Jaish terror camp in Balakot on February 26. Next day, however, aerial skirmishes took place between the two countries in which an IAF pilot was captured by Pakistan; the pilot, before being captured by Pakistan, shot down an F-16 of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). He was released on March 1 by Pakistan as a ‘gesture of peace’.
In January 2016, a suicide attack took place at the Pathankot airbase of the IAF. Four terrorists were killed and three security forces personnel were martyred in the attack. It came just days after, in a surprise move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on December 25, 2015, paid a surprise visit to Lahore, to meet then-Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while on his way back to New Delhi from Afghanistan.