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How Indian Air Force took Pakistan by surprise and effectively struck at Balakot


New Delhi, Feb 27: The key to the operation that was carried out by the Indian Air Force on Tuesday was the surprise element and secrecy. At no cost did the IAF want its aircraft to be detected by Pakistan and shot down.

How Indian Air Force took Pakistan by surprise and effectively struck at Balakot

There was a lot of meticulous planning that went into this operation in which a major terror camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammad was destroyed at Balakot.

OneIndia spoke with Air Marshal (Retd) B K Pandey to understand the finer details of the operation and how the Indian Air Force carried out such a successful strike deep into Pakistan.

Pakistan jets violate Indian air space, drop bomb after being pushed back

One of the key components in this operation was Netra, an airborne early earning and control aircraft. This aircraft can jam radars, B K Pandey explains. Further the attacking aircraft had shut down the radars and the waves could have alerted Pakistan, he also says.

He also said that the aircraft was flying very low and hence detection becomes extremely difficult. He also says that the area in which the strike was carried out is not air defence sensitive. Pakistan's air defence is more active on the border and in insurgency affected areas, he further added.

The Indian Air Force took advantage of these aspects. He also said that had the attacking aircraft been scrambled then the Sukhoi 30 MKI would have come in. The operation over all was well planned and executed to perfection, he adds.

He also said that this operation is less complex when compared to an Army effort to carry out a surgical strike. Such an operation is also more effective in nature, he explained. He says that following this strike one could expect more such operations. The IAF would conduct such an operation not just in depth, but also to curb the firing along the border, B S Pandey also said.

The capabilities un-questioned:

The IAF always had this capability to strike deep. However the problem was that the IAF never got political clearance.

In this operation the IAF crossed the border into the North West Frontier Province and penetrated really deep and more importantly took the Pakistan Air Force by surprise. To that extent this is an extremely successful mission.

How the Sukhoi 30 acted as a decoy as the Mirages struck at Balakot

One must also bear in mind that the terrorist training camp that was hit is a military asset for Pakistan. Pakistan is not capable of fighting a conventional war. My guess is that Pakistan will re-build this facility.

B K Pandey also adds that the real assessment of the operation could be gauged on the level of terrorism. I feel that these terror groups would activate their sleeper cells across the country.

India on the other hand would have to sustain the effort. I do not believe that Pakistan would escalate this and the question of using the nuclear weapons is ruled out. The Chinese would not allow that and Pakistan cannot afford it, he adds.

On the other hand the Indian Army would continue to cleanse the Valley of terrorists and I hope that the government would lend complete support to the same, B K Pandey also adds.

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