IAF precision strike to mark 2 yrs of Balakot ops
New Delhi, Feb 27 (IANS) The Indian Air Force carried out a long range precision strike against a practice target to mark the second anniversary of the Balakot operation.
The strike was carried out by members of the same squadron who carried out the actual operations. The strike took place in Rajasthan sector recently.
In the meantime, Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria on Saturday flew a multi aircraft sortie with the units to commemorate the occasion along with the squadron pilots.
The Balakot air strike completes two years on February 26. The strike was carried out at terror camps in Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in response to the deadly Pulwama terror attack that claimed the lives of 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel.
It was the first aerial assault carried out by India in Pakistan after the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war.
On February 26, 2019, at around 3.30 a.m., 12 Mirage 2000 fighter jets crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and destroyed the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot.
The Balakot air strike demonstrated India’s prowess to retaliate to Pakistan’s sinister intentions.
Codenamed as ‘Operation Bandar’, the air strike was conducted by the seventh and ninth squadrons of the Indian Air Force.
After the strike, over two dozen fighter planes, including F-16s left Pakistani bases aiming to hit Indian military installations. But the Indian Air Force in anticipation of such an attack was ready and an aerial dogfight ensued. It ended with an Indian pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, shooting down an F-16 fighter plane of Pakistan and getting hit in the process.
Wing Commander Varthaman exited safely but was captured. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan announced his capture. India demanded his unconditional and safe return.
Back then, the US played a role in the release of Abhinandan. He safely returned to India.