Along with several other hashtags, #OperationBandar was also trending on Twitter today. While we know that February 26 marks the second anniversary of Balakot airstrikes, many of us do not know that the Balakot operations were given the codename Operation Bandar.
When the Air Force sent its package of 12 Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft to attack the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist camp in Balakot on February 26, it code-named it 'Operation Bandar (Monkey)', to maintain secrecy.
Without detailing any specific reason behind the name, sources said monkeys have always held a special place in India's war culture as seen in the epic Ramayana, where Lord Rama's lieutenant Lord Hanuman quietly sneaked into Lanka and destroyed the entire capital city of the demon Ravana.
Today, on the second anniversary of the Balakot airstrikes, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, home minister Amit Shah on Friday saluted the exceptional courage and diligence of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
On February 14, Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) targeted a CRPF convoy on the Jammu-Srinagar highway near Pulwama in South Kashmir killing 40 CPRF personnel.
Days later IAF launched an air-strike on a JeM camp in Balakot in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.
The air-strike was launched in the early hours of February 26 and Pakistan's efforts to launch an offensive the next day to target Indian military installations in Jammu and Kashmir was thwarted by an alert IAF.
In the dogfight, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, flying a MiG-21 Bison fighter plane and chasing Pakistani jets, crossed over to PoK where his aircraft was shot down. He was taken into custody by Pakistan. India also shot down a Pakistani fighter jet.
(With inputs from ANI)