Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is addressing a gathering of ex-servicemen at a rally in Rajasthan's Churu.IANS

In his first comments after the Indian Air Force (IAF) launched air strikes on terror camps and launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) on Pakistani soil, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "I assure you, the country is in safe hands."

Addressing a gathering of ex-servicemen at a rally in Rajasthan's Churu, PM Modi pledged to uphold the country's honour. "It is such a moment that we should salute our bravehearts, bow to them," he said.

"Main desh hain rukne doonga, main desh nahin jhukne doonga," PM Modi said. The Prime Minister was greeted with thundering acclaim as he said that he will not let the country down. PM Modi stressed that nothing was above the nation.

"Repeat with me, Bharat Mata ki Jai," he shouted, the crowd cheering heartily in return. "The reason I am able to work like this is because of your support, your trust... and let me tell you this... that we are a government that thinks a group is bigger than an individual, and the nation is bigger than any group," said PM Modi, wearing a traditional safa or headgear.

masood azhar yusuf azhar
Masood Azhar and his brother-in-law Yusuf Azhar

IC-814 hijacker Yousuf Azhar, the brother-in-law of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, was among some 300 terrorists killed in the Indian Air Force strike at around 3.30 am.

The Indian Air Force conducted a major preemptive strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp, killing a "very large number" of terrorists, trainers and senior commanders, according to Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale.

The airstrike against terror camps in Pakistani soil was conducted by 12 Mirage 2000 jets of the Indian Air Force. Indian Air Force jets had crossed the Line of Control and destroyed major terrorist camps in Balakote sector.

This come days after Jaish, the Pakistan-based terrorist group, carried out a suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama, killing 40 CRPF troopers.

Sources said terrorist launchpads in Balakot, Chakothi and Muzaffarabad were completely destroyed in the IAF air strikes, and that Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) control rooms were also destroyed.