IAF Could've Used More Warplanes, Weapons During Balakot Airstrike: IAF Chief
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 airstrike.
Photo Credit : IAF
Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on Friday said that the force could have deployed twice the number of warplanes and launched more weapons during the Balakot airstrike, but chose to not do so in order to minimise collateral damage.
"The air force could have struck Balakot with twice the number of warplanes and launched four times the weapons but did not do that to ensure there was no collateral damage," the IAF chief said at the Centre for Air Power Studies seminar here. The IAF chief said the Centre had taken a "tough and bold decision to strike at the heart of terrorist training camps deep inside Pakistan" and added that "the Indian Air Force struck the target successfully".
"A year ago, the government took a tough and bold decision to strike at the heart of terrorist training camps deep inside Pakistan across the Line of Control. IAF successfully struck the chosen target. Pakistan Air Force responded 30 hours later with a large package of aircraft under Operation Swift Retort. IAF ensured they were not able to hit targets. They were in a hurry to disengage. They were doing it for their domestic audience," Bhadauria said.
"We had an edge over Pakistan Air Force in terms of Beyond Visual Range Missile capability at the time of Kargil. We allowed that to slip and thereafter it took a decade and a half in our struggle in the acquisition process to be able to get better capability," he added.
Earlier, while speaking to ANI, the IAF chief said that the message of the Balakot airstrike was clear 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 one," Bhadauria had said.
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 airstrike.
Last year, the IAF had carried out airstrikes in Pakistan's Balakot, targetting Jaish-e-Mohammad's (JeM) terror training camps. The JeM had claimed responsibility for a deadly terror attack on February 14 in Pulwama, killing 40 CRPF personnel.