GR News Desk | New Delhi
The Indian Air Force (IAF) in a ‘non-military pre-emptive strike’ Monday ventured across the Line of Control and dropped a “heavy payload” on the biggest terror camp being operated by the Jasih e Mohammad, perpetrators of the February 14 Pulwama attack. 12 IAF Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft in a coordinated mission launched an air strike at 0330 hours in Balakot, dropping about 1,000 kg of precision bombs on terror camps across LoC.
Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale confirming the attacks said, “The strike has taken place a short while ago, we are awaiting details.” The targets, JeM camps, were selected precisely by avoiding civilian collateral damage, Gokhale said. He added, “the facility at Balakot was headed by Maulana Yousuf Azhar, brother-in-law of Masood Azhar. In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were eliminated.”
The attack was also confirmed by the Pakistan Army, which maintained, “Indian aircrafts intruded from Muzzafarabad sector. Facing timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force released payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot. No casualties or damage.” “Indian aircrafts’ intrusion across LOC in Muzafarabad Sector within AJ&K was 3-4 miles. Under forced hasty withdrawal aircrafts released payload which had free fall in open area. No infrastructure got hit, no casualties. Technical details and other important information to follow, spokesperson for Pakistan armed forces, Major General Asif Gafoor tweeted.
Following the successful completion of the mission, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security and was briefed by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. The strike has received unanimous support from across the political spectrum which is pitting as a revenge for the Pulwama attack in which at least 40 soldiers of the Central Reserve Police Force were killed in a ghastly attack when a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden vehicle in a bus ferrying paramilitary personnel on Jammu-Srinagar highway.
It is first since 1971 when fighter aircraft have been put into skies across LoC. It is to be noted, that the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had restricted the use of IAF jets to own side of the LoC in 1999 Kargil war.
A day after the Pulwama attack, PM Modi had said in a rally, “Forces have been given free hand in choosing the time, place and method of response to the enemy.” “This is new India, with new policies and traditions and the world will see it now, the perpetrators will have to answer for every drop of tear,” Modi had said.
Meanwhile, all air stations and machineries have been put on high alert across the international border fearing a retaliation by Pakistan. However, IAF has maintained that it is capable of taking out any target and intrusion with precision.
The Mirage-2000 is a multi-role, single-engine, air defence 4th-generation fighter aircraft. The aircraft is employed in air defence & ground attack missions, with all-weather interception capability, with a full range of weapons and electronic warfare suite.