Pulwama, a year gone: When Operation Bandar at Balakot shook Pakistan
New Delhi, Feb 14: It has been a year since the ghastly Pulwama attack took place in which 40 CRPF jawans were martyred. While this attack was a major wake up call for India, what followed was an act at Balakot, which woke Pakistan up.
The statement was a strong one by India to avenge the Pulwama attack that was carried out by the Jaish-e-Mohammad. The Indian Air Force hit the JeM's training facility at Balakot in which several terrorists training for fidayeen attacks were killed.
Popularly known as the Balakot air strike, this operation was code named "Operation Bandar." The name Bandar which means monkey was taken to maintain utmost secrecy.
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.
Sources tell OneIndia that another reason behind the name was to make it look like a routine and small time affair.
One of the key ingredients of this strike was the utmost secrecy that was maintained in the run up to the operation.
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.