The military strike carried out by 12 Mirage aircraft on a Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp in Balakot in Pakistan – killing over an estimated 200 terrorists – is significant because it is the first time that the IAF has crossed the Line of Control in 47 years. In an analysis of the fallout of the air strike, SNI Editor-in Chief Nitin A. Gohale explains that while the strike has dealt a body blow to the Jaish, PM Modi’s repeated insistence to the IAF that there must be no civilian or military casualties has ensured that any expected retaliation by Pakistan is unlikely to breach the nuclear threshold. The fact that Islamabad was caught unprepared with military spokesperson Major Gen Asif Ghafoor acknowledging the strike and the fact that Pakistan does not have the economic means to launch a conventional attack against India suggests that any retaliatory measures at the state level are unlikely. However, with elections in India round the corner, terror attacks on political rallies and even possible hijacking of civilian aircraft cannot be ruled out.
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