The surgical strikes in Pakistan territory last night were carried out by India to address the "mass anger" among people after the terror attack at an army base in Uri earlier this month, said ministers who were present at the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's review of security this morning.
Sources who did not wish to be named said that the government was aware that "mass anger after Uri was at the same level as after Nirbhaya," referring to the gang-rape of a young Delhi student four years ago that incited huge street protests across the country.
Sources added that recent moves by India to isolate Pakistan by "tinkering with its Most Favoured Nation trading status or recalling envoys was no longer enough to address the levels of anger."
The strikes carried out last night between midnight and 4 am targeted eight terror camps upto 2 kms across the Line of Control, said ministers . "Our forces have gone deep in and come back before sunrise," they said, adding that Pakistan's denial of the strikes is expected, that "huge casualties were caused in the terrorist camps", and that India has evidence of the damage inflicted and will decide if and when to release photographs and other proof.
The strikes, which included para commandos and helicopters, are India's first direct military response to the attack in Uri which left 18 soldiers dead. Four terrorists from Pakistan attacked the base on September 18 with AK-47s and grenades.
Explaining the action, sources said that "Prime Minister Modi tried peace for two years, (but) Nawaz Sharif has decided to toe his army's line." Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj also told the United Nations General Assembly on Monday that PM Modi's outreach to Mr Sharif, which included inviting him to the Prime Minister's swearing-in and a surprise visit to wish the Pakistani premier for his birthday in December, has met with a series of terror attacks.
The PM had warned that the Uri assault would be avenged and that the army would take action at an appropriate time. In recent days, as his government moved to isolate Pakistan diplomatically and to pressure it by rethinking crucial water-sharing and trade agreements, the PM was urged by some within his own party as well as opposition leaders to take strong action against Islamabad to prove terrorist attacks in India will not be tolerated.