Modi chairs high level security meeting in New Delhi

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NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday chaired a high-level meeting on security amid the heightened tensions with Pakistan and after Imran Khan announced the release of an Indian Air Force pilot captured by his country.

Officials sources said the meeting was attended by chiefs of the three Services, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Several other senior officials also attended the meeting held at the prime minister’s residence here.

Security briefing

Meanwhile, inthe first joint briefing since Pakistan’s attempts to hit Indian military installations on Wednesday, the Army, Navy and Air Force said they were fully prepared and in a heightened state of readiness to respond to any provocation by Pakistan.

“Pakistan has targeted our military installations. They have escalated matters. If they provoke us any further, we are prepared for exigencies,” said Major General Surendra Singh Mahal.

“We continue to maintain strict vigil along both the Line of Control and International Border. Our ground based air defence weapon system are put on high alert. I wish to assure the nation that we are fully prepared and in a heightened state of readiness,” he added.

Major General Mahal told the media that on Wednesday Pakistani jets tried to target a Brigade Headquarters, a Battalion Headquarters and logistics installations in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) bombs fell in the Indian Army formation compound, but there was no significant damage, said Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor. Air Vice Marshal Kapoor refuted Pakistan’s claims that F-16s were not used, saying there were electronic signatures to prove that the planes had been deployed by Pakistan.

Rear Admiral DS Gujral said that the Navy was ready to defeat any misadventure by Pakistan. “The Indian Navy is deployed in a high state of readiness and remains poised in all three dimensions; on surface, under sea and in air to deter, prevent and defeat any misadventure by Pakistan in the maritime domain,” he said.

The briefing was postponed by two hours from 5 pm after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that he would free captured pilot Abhinandan Varthaman tomorrow as a “gesture of peace”.