Stating that handlers from across the border controlled the Jaish-e-Muhammad militants who carried out the Sunjuwan Army camp attack in Jammu, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said here on Monday that Pakistan would pay for the misadventure.
“Pakistan will pay for this adventure. It will pay for its adventurism … I assure the nation that the sacrifices [of those killed in the attack] will not go in vain. We will continue to thwart any attempt by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists to spread violence and take necessary action through a counter-terrorism strategy,” Ms. Sitharaman said after meeting senior Army officials and enquiring about the injured in Jammu.
She also met Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
Ms. Sitharaman said the Jaish, led by the Pakistan-based Masood Azhar, was behind the attack.
“Our intelligence inputs indicate these terrorists were controlled by their handlers from across the border. The evidence is being scrutinised by the National Investigation Agency, which shall soon furnish a detailed report,” she said.
She hinted at local support to the terrorists who “may have infiltrated some time ago”.
“The demography of the cantonment and the adjoining areas indicates the possibility of local support to the terrorists,” the Minister said. She said the alert sentries and quick reaction teams were able to stop a coordinated attack by the terrorists.
“There was an alert. The terrorists, scattered after a brief exchange of fire, rushed towards the family quarters and occupied some of the accommodation blocks and were isolated. Since the terrorists were in battle fatigues, the Army dedicatedly moved ahead to avoid any collateral damage,” she said.
The Army, she said, evacuated families from 28 blocks and 189 flats, which was time-consuming. She denied the possibility of a fourth terrorist still hiding. “The fourth terrorist may have been a guide and may not have entered the premises,” she said. “The operation has been called off.”