The Indian Air Force carried out pre-dawn airstrikes on Tuesday and destroyed major launch pads of terrorists in Balakot in Pakistan. However, the mystery looms large over which Balakot has been targeted in Pakistan. There are two Balakotes in Pakistan, one is a town in Mansehra district of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and the other along LoC in PoK. Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah, while reacting to the attack, said: “If this is Balakote in KPK it’s a major incursion & a significant strike by IAF planes. However, if it’s Balakote in Poonch sector, along the LoC it’s a largely symbolic strike because at this time of the year forward launch pads & militant camps are empty & non-functional.”
“Unless we know which Balakote is being talked about by the Pakistani generals it’s pointless speculating about what we may have hit & what fallout the airstrike will have,” he said.
If this is Balakote in KPK it’s a major incursion & a significant strike by IAF planes. However if it’s Balakote in Poonch sector, along the LoC it’s a largely symbolic strike because at this time of the year forward launch pads & militant camps are empty & non-functional.— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) February 26, 2019
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More than 10 bombs were dropped by the multi-role fighter jet Mirage 2000 at around 3:30 am on Tuesday morning. Understandably, Pakistan has downplayed the airstrike. The aerial attack comes a day after Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held a high-level meeting with all three service chiefs.
Defence experts say that Mirages would have used 500 kg laser-guided bombs. The Mirage 2000s may have used Israeli lightening laser designator pods to drop their precision bombs. Though Pakistan has tweeted the photos of large craters, the actual impact of the airstrike will be revealed by the satellite images.
There are unverified reports that many residents of Srinagar heard planes hovering over the city all night. In terms of geography, while Muzaffarabad and Chakothi are located in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, the fact is Balakot is located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. If the targets of the airstrikes are confirmed, this means that India has hit locations deep into Pakistan and not PoK. Balakot is about 50 miles from the ceasefire border known as the “line of control” based on lines established after the first war the two countries fought over Kashmir shortly after independence in 1947.