Three years of Balakot Air Strike: Know how India avenged its soldiers

The Balakot camp was an important training centre for the JeM and other terror organisations and it had several structures to accommodate terrorist trainees and facilities to train them.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Friday, February 25, 2022, 10:55 PM IST
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'Balakot Air Strike' completed its 3 years today. 26 February 2019 was a momentous day for India. The dastardly attack in which over 40 CRPF personnel were martyred was avenged. In an early morning attack on February 26, IAF’s jets bombed the JeM terror camp in Pakistan.

The Air Strike was a proof that India can retaliate to any dreadful actions towards its nation.

The Indian Air Force on February 26, 2019, targeted the Balakot-based Jaish-e-Mohammad(JeM) terror camp in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan and was also used by the Hizbul Mujahideen terror group.

The Balakot camp was an important training centre for the JeM and other terror organisations and it had several structures to accommodate terrorist trainees and facilities to train them.

At about 0115 hours on February 26, 2019, 20 fully armed Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft took off, one by one in quick succession, from the runway and taxiway of the Air Force Station at Gwalior.

At about 0345 hours, the fighters, which were flying in the cover of mountains to escape a Pakistani SAAB Airborne Warning and Control aircraft, crossed the LoC at 30,000 feet.

Here are a few most remarkable facts about the airstrike by Indian Air Force:

It was the first operation after the 1971 war with Pakistan that the Indian fighter jets have crossed the LoC and flown inside Pakistani airspace. Even during the peak of the Kargil war between the two countries, the then Vajpayee government had ordered the Indian Air Force not to cross the LoC.

  • NSA Ajit Doval and Air chief BS Dhanoa worked throughout the night, monitoring the preparations and operations from the war room in IAF headquarters.

  • The Balakot Air Strike mission name was Operation Bandar. It was conducted by the Indian Air Force, seventh and ninth squadrons.

  • Balakot Air Strike was a tribute to Pulwama attack martyrs and a well-sent abomination to Pakistan. The demolition of the terror camps in Balakot was a brave retaliation mission to pay homage to the 40 martyrs of one of the deadliest terror strikes in India.

  • Apart from the 12 Mirage 2000 aircraft that had taken off from their respective airbases in Gwalior and Agra, a formation of Sukhoi Su 30-MKIs, 5 Mig 29s were also on standby to protect the Indian airspace.

  • The Mirage 2000s carried the SPICE ‘smart bombs’ made by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defence Systems. Each SPICE 2000 is approximately a 1000 KG air to ground bomb that can be launched from a distance of 100 km. Israel had used these same bombs in Syria.

  • 25 top Jaish-e-Mohammad commanders, including Masood Azhar’s brother-in-law Yusuf Azhar, Maulana Ammar, associated with Afghanistan and Kashmir ops and Maulana Talha Saif, brother of Maulana Masood Azhar and head of the preparation wing have also been killed in the airstrikes.

Pakistan's reaction:

The strikes shook up the entire Pakistan Military. They held an urgent meeting between the Pakistan Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa, Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan and the head of the ISI LT Gen Asim Munir.

The angered Army chief had said, “Dobara hamari nak Kat kar le gaye.” (For the second time, India has made us eat the humble pie.) He ordered the PAF chief to carry out retaliatory action by the next day.

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