In the wee hours of Tuesday, India launched a direct air strike on the Jaish-e-Mohammed training camps across the LoC in an attempt to avenge the lives of the 44 soldiers that were lost in the Pulwama tragedy on 14th February.
Twelve Mirage 2000 jets containing 1000 kg of explosives struck the terror camps of the Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Lashkar-e-Toiba in Balakot, completely obliterating them. Overall, the strike lasted for 19 minutes.
Balakot is located 24 Km North West of Muzaffarabad and it was here that the fighter jets struck. The air strike went on till 3.53 A.M. Now, one must realise that striking Balakot is both strategic and bold because not only did the IAF cross the LoC, it also crossed the borders of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir or PoK.
The target was located inside Khyber Pakhtukhwa, and this is the first time after the 1971 war that the Indian Armed Forces attacked targets in Pakistan.
The Mode Of Operation
The surgical strike comes less than 2 weeks after the Pulwama tragedy, and it is clear that masterminds devised a clear cut strategy which would help them achieve the targets. For instance, early-warning system AWACS and Heron drones had been used. Even surveillance had been increased in the hours mounting to the attack.
This was done so as to track any movement by the Pakistani Air Force, which could stand as an obstacle to IAF’s mission.
How Did Pakistan React?
There have been reports which claimed that the Pakistani Defence did receive intelligence of the Indian Fighter Jets and may have even attempted to intercept them. However, these attempts resulted in failure.
A Pakistani Twitter user had tweeted a video, which stated that IAF had attempted to cross the LoC but failed:
Visuals of Pak Air Force in Action over and around Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir, and areas near LoC after failed attempt by Indian air force to intrude into Pak air space pic.twitter.com/9L32C4iD4B
— Khalid khi (@khalid_pk) February 26, 2019
The Aftermath Of The Strike
Soon after the strike, IAF confirmed and took responsibility for it. The Foreign Secretary’s office issued an official statement stating that IAF had received intelligence of JeM gearing up for more attacks in the future.
According to officials, at least 200 casualties have been reported. These casualties include JeM terrorists, senior commanders, trainers and jihadis.
After the strike, Pakistani F16s had also been ordered to retaliate, but the sheer size of the Indian troupe pushed them back and they were forced to scramble.
Major General Asif Ghafoor, a spokesperson for the Pakistan Army, tweeted saying that India had violated the terms of the LoC.
Indian aircrafts’ intrusion across LOC in Muzafarabad Sector within AJ&K was 3-4 miles.Under forced hasty withdrawal aircrafts released payload which had free fall in open area. No infrastructure got hit, no casualties. Technical details and other important information to follow.
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) February 26, 2019
By carrying out such an attack, India targeted the biggest training camp of the JeM. Updates are still pouring in, stay tuned.