The Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out a long-range precision strike against a practice target to mark the second anniversary of the Balakot Operation on Saturday.
The strike was carried out by members of the squadron which conducted the air-strike on terror launch pads in Balakot in Pakistan. The sources added that the strike was in the “very recent past”.
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on Saturday flew a multi-aircraft sortie with the units to commemorate the occasion along with the squadron pilots.
The sources added that sortie comprised three Mirage 2000 and 2 Sukhoi-30 MKIs. Bhadauria flew the Mirage 2000.
On the first anniversary of Balakot air strike, Bhadauria flew a five aircraft mission from Srinagar air base along with air warriors who were part of the operation to pound a terrorist training camp deep inside Pakistan.
He had then flown a MiG-21 Type 69 aircraft in a formation also comprising two Mirage-2000s and two Sukhoi-30 MKIs.
On February 26, 2019, Indian Air Force fighter jets crossed the Line of Control and destroyed terror launch pads in Balakot.
The strike was undertaken days after 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed in a terror attack in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14.
The strike by India’s warplanes on the camp and the Pakistani Air Force’s subsequent retaliation the next day triggered fears of a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
The most visible face of the confrontation was Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman whose capture by Pakistan after downing his MiG-21 fighter triggered the most serious military crisis between the two neighbours in decades.
But diplomatic outreach by major powers and India’s stern warning to Islamabad led to his release after two days, averting further escalation of the conflict.