Radar, satellite images of IAF strike on Pakistan's Balakot show 'significant damage': Sources

PTI New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 06, 2019, 11.09 PM(IST)

File photo: Indian Mirage 2000. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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The source-based information about the 'evidence' comes against the backdrop of a report by a foreign news agency claiming that satellite images of the Jaish-e-Mohammed madrasa in Balakot showed the facility is still intact and buildings standing.

The Indian Air Force has given the government radar and satellite images showing bombing of the "intended targets" at the JeM terrorist training camp in Pakistan's Balakot and "causing significant damage" to it, sources in the security establishment said on Wednesday.

The source-based information about the "evidence" comes against the backdrop of a report by a foreign news agency claiming that satellite images of the Jaish-e-Mohammed madrasa in Balakot showed the facility is still intact and buildings standing.

The government was given on Sunday all the "evidence" of the February 26 strike on the JeM camp, including radar and satellite imagery, which showed that the S-2000 laser-guided munition hit the intended targets causing significant "internal damage", sources said.

S-2000 smart bombs penetrate the targets and cause a blast inside, as per sources. 

They also said that the IAF has collected from independent sources satellite imagery of the site of the JeM camp after the strike to assess the impact of the operation, and these images have also been handed over to the government.

The news report, which drew a comparison between an April 2018 image of the camp with that of an image taken on March 4, 2019, to show it is practically unchanged, also comes amid raging debate over the number of human casualties in the Balakot air strikes. 

Briefing reporters last week, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale had said "a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were eliminated", while the government sources said 350 terrorists were killed. 

Later, BJP president Amit Shah put the toll at 250. 

Amidst media reports suggesting minimal damage during these air strikes, opposition parties have been clamouring for clarity.

On Monday, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said it is for the government to provide death toll of terrorists, and the IAF only sees if a target has been hit or not.

On Tuesday, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said around 400 terrorists were killed in the air strikes. When asked about the number of terrorists eliminated, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman did not give any figure.