India appeared to support Iran’s air strikes in Pakistan this week, saying that it understood the “actions countries take in their self-defense.”
“This is a matter between Iran and Pakistan. Insofar as India is concerned, we have an uncompromising position of zero tolerance towards terrorism,” India’s ministry of external affairs spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said.
Iran targeted two bases of the Baloch Sunni militant group ‘Jaish al-Adl’ in Pakistan’s Balochistan province by missiles and drones on Tuesday, state media reported.
Jaish al-Adl, or the “Army of Justice”, was founded in 2012 and largely operates in areas close to Pakistan’s border with Iran. While Iranian forces have often clashed with militants in the border areas, this is the first of its kind strike within Pakistani territory.
Pakistan, meanwhile, retaliated to Irani air strikes by conducting a series of “highly coordinated and specifically targeted precision military strikes” against “terrorist hideouts” in Iran’s Siestan-Balochistan province on Thursday.
Islamabad said its military strikes targeted Pakistani-origin terrorists calling themselves “Sarmachars”.
It said a number of terrorists were killed during the intelligence-based operation codenamed “Marg Bar Sarmachar”.
“In our engagements with Iran, Pakistan has consistently shared its serious concerns about the safe havens and sanctuaries enjoyed by Pakistani-origin terrorists calling themselves Sarmacharson the ungoverned spaces inside Iran. Pakistan also shared multiple dossiers with concrete evidence of the presence and activities of these terrorists,” a Pakistan foreign office statement said on Thursday.
The action was taken in light of credible intelligence of impending large-scale terrorist activities by Sarmachars, it added.
The developments come a day after Islamabad recalled its ambassador from Tehran and suspended all planned high-level bilateral visits in the wake of Iran’s missile and drone strikes in Balochistan against a militant group.
Pakistan’s foreign minister Jalil Abbas Jilani on Wednesday told his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir Abdollahian that Tehran’s actions violated Islamabad’s sovereignty and caused serious damage to bilateral ties between the two nations.
Jilani told the Iranian minister that his country reserved the right to respond to this.
Iran’s attack and Pakistan’s retaliatory strikes, days after Tehran’s targeting of militants in Iraq and Syria following a bombing that killed over 100 people, have raised tensions in the region.
Israel’s bombing of Gaza, the targeting of the merchant ships in the Red Sea by Yemen-based Houthis, and US-UK airstrikes against them as a retaliatory measure have already kept the region on the boil.
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