IAF achieved military objective in Balakot operation: Dhanoa

Gwalior: Pakistani Air Force side did not enter into Indian airspace after the Balakot airstrike, Air Marshal B S Dhanoa on Monday said while asserting that the IAF "achieved its military objective" in the operation while Pakistan did not.

He said this in response to a question at a press conference held during a day-long event at the Gwalior Air Base to mark 20 years of the Kargil War.

"They didn't come into our airspace. And what was our objective? Our objective was to strike the (terror) camp and we have done that. We have achieved our objective. Their (Pakistani) objective was to hit our army places. They could not and that is the bottom line," he said.

Dhanoa asserted that the IAF achieved its stated military objective but the Pakistani side did not.

"But none of them (PAF side) crossed the LoC into our side," he told reporters.

The IAF on Monday also organised a seminar on 'Air operations in Kargil war, lessons learnt and way forward' at the Gwalior Air Force Station.

The Air Force had struck a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorist training camp in Pakistan's Balakot area on February 26 in response to the February 14 Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.

The Pakistan Air Force retaliated the next day by unsuccessfully targeting various military installations in Jammu and Kashmir.

Asked about the airspace being closed from the Pakistani side, Dhanoa said, "They deciding to close the airspace is their problem."

"Our economy is vibrant and air traffic is a very important part and you have noticed that the Air Force has never stopped our civilian air traffic," he said.

"Only on February 27, we had stopped Srinagar airspace for two-three hours. We did not allow tension with Pakistan to dictate our civil aviation because our economy is much bigger and much stronger as compared to theirs," he added.

Praising the Mirage-2000, the IAF chief recalled how the use of the aircraft equipped with laser-guided bombs, coupled with the ground forces had turned the tide of the war. In Balakot operation too Mirage-2000 aircraft, equipped with SPICE bomb, after taking off from the Gwalior Base, had pounded the JeM camp.

Referring to the Kargil conflict, Dhanoa said Mirage aircraft of the IAF carried out effective strikes on Pakistani infiltrators.

"We stand by the people who achieved this. Pakistan did not have beyond visual range missile. When you have an element of surprise by your side then you can make success. Purpose of our attack has always been to show our resolve and capability," Dhanoa said. PTI

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