Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has suggested that the country's special forces should have the right to carry out operations against terrorist leaders in neighbouring Pakistan, just as the US did when it launched an operation to kill al-Qaeda* leader Osama bin Laden in 2011.
"I remember when US Navy Seals went to Abbottabad to kill Osama bin Laden, then why can't India?" Jaitley said Wednesday, as quoted by The Asian Age newspaper.
New Delhi is demanding that Islamabad extradite the leaders of several terrorist groups thought to reside in Pakistan, including Masood Azhar, leader of the Jaish-e-Mohammed* terrorist group, and Hafiz Saeed, co-founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba* extremists. New Delhi has accused these groups of carrying out multiple terrorist attacks on Indian territory, and charged Pakistan with harbouring the jihadists. Pakistan has denied the charges and refused to comply with India's demands.
On Wednesday, the Pakistani military claimed to have downed two Indian warplanes flying over its airspace over the disputed region of Kashmir. A day earlier, Indian jets crossed the border to bomb a Jaish-e-Mohammed camp in Pakistani-controlled territory. India believes the group is responsible for a deadly attack on an Indian military convoy in Kashmir earlier this month, which killed over 40 troops, and justified the strikes by claiming Islamabad had proven unable or unwilling to act "to destroy terrorist infrastructure." Pakistan blasted India for violating its territorial integrity.
In the 1980s, Moscow accused Pakistan of harbouring multiple Mujahedeen groups, including bin Laden, in their war against the Soviet-backed government in neighbouring Afghanistan.
*Terrorist groups outlawed in Russia and many other countries.