Balakot airstrike anniversary: When IAF crossed into Pakistan and bombed JeM training camps

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 26, 2020, 05.28 PM(IST)

FIle photo. Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The Balakot airstrike marked a paradigm shift in India's defence policy. This was the strongest ever response by India to Pakistan sponsored terror.

One year ago on this day, Indian Air Force aircrafts bombed a terrorist training camp deep inside Pakistan, in response to the Pulwama attack which had killed over 40 Indian Army soldiers. During the operation, 12 Indian fighter jets entered Pakistan controlled airspace and destroyed a major terror camp in Balakot.

The Balakot airstrike marked a paradigm shift in India's defence policy. This was the strongest ever response by India to Pakistan sponsored terror.

India's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh lauded the bravery of the soldiers in the airstrikes.

Also read: Balakot terror camps in Pakistan being reactivated: MHA informs Rajya Sabha

"I salute the IAF for its unmatched bravery and courage exhibited during Balakote airstrikes. Now we do not hesitate to cross the border to protect India against terrorism."

On Wednesday, on the first anniversary of Balakot airstrike, the IAF chief RKS Bhadauria also hailed the airstrike and said it sent a clear message that there will be a robust response to a terror attack from across the border.

"The message is clear that it will no longer be a status quo, if there is an attack orchestrated from across the border there will be a response and it will be a robust response."

The Chief of the Air Staff flew a sortie in MiG-21 of 51 Squadron with two Mirage-2000s and Sukhoi-30MKI from Srinagar airbase to mark the completion of one year of Balakot airstrikes.

Former IAF Chief BS Dhanoa speaking on the occasion said they looked back at the operation with "satisfaction."

"One year has gone past and we look back with satisfaction. We have learnt a lot of lessons, a lot of things have been implemented after Balakot operations. Basically, it's a paradigm shift in the way we conduct our operations. The other side never believed that we could carry out a strike inside Pakistan to take out a terror training camp that we successfully carried out," BS Dhanoa said.

Last year, on February 26, Indian Air Force carried out airstrikes in Pakistan's Balakot, targetting Jaish-e-Muhammed's (JeM) terror training camps.

The JeM had claimed responsibility of a deadly terror attack on February 14 in Pulwama, killing more than 40 CRPF personnel.

A day after Balakot airstrikes, the IAF foiled Pakistan Air Force retaliation in which India's Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, while piloting a MiG 21, shot down Pakistan's F-16.