New Delhi (Sputnik): Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman rubbished Pakistan's move of inviting foreign diplomats and media to take a look at the terror camps which India claimed it had hit with bombs during the 26 February air strike at Balakot in Pakistan, accusing the Pakistani government of not taking people to the right spot, reported news portal Scroll.in
The media report quoted an interview that Sitharaman had done with Business Television India, in which she said, "The Madrasa is a foil, real Jaish terror camps are running above that hill. [I'm] not sure if anyone has been taken at that spot to see damages".
Pakistan on Wednesday took foreign media persons, along with diplomats, to Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the location where Indian planes dropped bombs in "pre-emptive non-military" airstrikes against Jaish-e-Mohammad's terror infrastructure on 26 February.
A group of international media journalists mostly India based and Ambassadors & Defence Attachés of various countries in Pakistan visited impact site of 26 February Indian air violation near Jabba, Balakot. Saw the ground realities anti to Indian claims for themselves. pic.twitter.com/XsONflGGVP— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) April 10, 2019
In an interview with Indian Express, the defence minister clarified her stance, saying, "Pakistan needed 40 days to take journalists. They can do the necessary whitewashing, they can take as many people as they want".
She reiterated in the Indian Express interview, "The information that I have is that they took them to the madrasa, which was never attacked, never touched, and never part of the scheme".
Taking a jibe at Pakistan, she said, "They (Pakistan) would have taken them on a 'guided tour'. The place where the suicide bombers are trained has not been made accessible", she explained.
Indian fighter planes conducted "pre-emptive non-military" strikes against alleged Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camps situated in Balakot in Pakistan on 26 February in response to the 14 February Pulwama terror incident in which more than 40 Indian paramilitary troops were killed and for which the Pak-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility.
Subsequent to the Indian incursion into Pakistan, Pakistani jets on the morning moved into Indian airspace against Indian military targets. A dogfight ensued involving planes from the two countries in which a MiG-21 Bison fighter jet was shot down by Pakistan. India claims that before going down, the Indian MiG-21 had also shot down an F-16 from the Pakistani air force, while Pakistan denies it.