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2nd Balakot anniversary marked by IAF’s long precision strike mission

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New Delhi, Feb 28: The Indian Air Force carried out a long range precision strike mission against a practice target at Pokhran to mark the second anniversary of the Balakot airstrikes in which a Jaish-e-Mohammad training facility was struck.

Representational Image

The mission was conducted by the same Mirage 2000 fighter jet squadron that had conducted the Balakot strikes.

On February 26 2019, the Indian Air Force hit a Jaish-e-Mohammad training facility in Balakot, Pakistan to avenge the Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were martyred.

In a daring pre-dawn operation the IAF took down the training facility that had been mapped by the intelligence years ago. Former officer with the Research and Analysis Wing, Amar Bhushan told OneIndia that while the facility had been mapped over one and half decades back, it required a strong leadership with guts to hit the facility.

It was at 3.45 am on February 26 2019 that the then Air Chief, B S Dhanoa made call on a special RAX number to National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval to inform that the IAF had successfully completed the operation. The NSA in turn immediately informed Prime Minister about the same.

Officials tell OneIndia that this operation was a highly guarded secret known to only a very few. The sensitivity was such, the officer also explained. The same was code named Operation Bandar to maintain utmost secrecy.

India’s strong will displayed during Balakot strikeIndia’s strong will displayed during Balakot strike

While there was no specific reason to chose this name, monkeys have had an important place in Indian culture. In the Ramayana, Lord Ram's most trusted lieutenant Lord Hanuman destroys the entire capital of Lanka.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) had done a detailed assessment of both positives and negatives of the Balakot air strike. The report deals with various aspects of the strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist camp at Balakot, despite Pakistan being on very high alert.

One of the key aspects listed in the report is about the strategic surprise. It says that the strategic surprise was so complete that Pakistan scrambled its jets only after the Mirage-2000s delivered the weapons package and turned back.

Another major positive was the accuracy of the intelligence and the target selection. The proficiency and the skill of the pilots' part of the mission has been listed as top class and they would be rewarded for the same.

The high level of secrecy maintained during the mission also finds a mention. 6,000 men and officers were involved in the operation and there was absolutely no leakage.

Speaking more about the element of surprise, the IAF said that the Russian Su-30s flying towards the JeM's headquarters at Bahawalpur forced Pakistan to divert its resources and other capabilities in a separate sector.

During the strike, the IAF used Spice 200 precision guided munitions to hit the target. Five of the six designated targets were hit at the Jaish-e-Mohammad training facility in Balakot.

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