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After Indian air strike, Pakistan vows to respond, calls nuke authority meeting today

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Islamabad, Feb 27: The Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday informed that Prime Minister Imran Khan has summoned a special meeting of the National Command Authority (NCA) on Wednesday. This high-level, joint command oversees Pakistan's strategic components, most notably the country's nuclear arsenal.

Pakistan Promises Retaliation, makes Nuclear Threats

[How the IAF strike at Balakot unfolded: All the updates here]

"As you all know, Pakistani government has called a meeting of National Command Authority tomorrow. I hope you know what that means," said Pakistan army spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor.

The disclosure of the NCA meeting was clearly meant to be a threat of nuclear retaliation. They also declared that Pakistan would "dominate escalation ladder."

Even though it denied that the Indian Air Force had struck a terrorist camp and caused heavy casualties, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan had promised to retaliate against India after it conducted airstrikes on an alleged terrorist training camp across the Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border between India and Pakistan in the disputed Kashmir region, in a significant escalation of hostilities between the two nuclear armed powers.

NSC also strongly rejected Indian claim of airstrikes and targeting an alleged terrorist camp near Balakot and the claim of heavy casualties.

Even as Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj made it clear on Tuesday that India's war was "not against Pakistan, but against terror", Pakistan sounded a warning, declaring that it would convene a meeting of the National Command Authority on Wednesday-the apex body that oversees the country's nuclear weapons.

['Now it's your turn, get ready for our surprise', says Pakistan Army to India]

However, whether or not Pakistan looks to conduct its own conventional strikes on Indian soil remains to be seen.

Earlier on Tuesday, India bombed and destroyed Jaish-e-Mohammed's (JeM) biggest training camp in Balakot in Pakistan's restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, about 80-km from the Line of Control, early Tuesday, killing a "very large number" of terrorists, trainers and senior commanders, officials said in New Delhi.

The air strikes came 12 days after the JeM carried out the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir that killed 40 CRPF soldiers.

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