Balakot Anniversary: It was for the first time that Indian jets entered inside Pakistan to drop bombs after the 1971 War. (Photo Credit: File Photo)
Balakot airstrike, when Indian fighter jets entered deep inside Pakistan and bombed Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps marks its first anniversary today. It was for the first time that Indian jets entered inside Pakistan to drop bombs after the 1971 War. The Indian Air Force (IAF) chief, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, to commemorate the anniversary will today visit a front-line base in Kashmir that launched fighter planes last February. Bhadauria will visit the air force’s Srinagar-based No 51 squadron, and interact with personnel who were involved in the action against Pakistan, according to media reports.
The Balakot strikes took place after on February 14, at least 42 CRPF personnel were killed in one of the deadliest attacks in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district when a Jaish suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 30 kg of explosives into their bus.
More than 2,500 Central Reserve Police Force personnel, many of them returning from leave to rejoin duty in the Valley, were travelling in the convoy of 78 vehicles when they were ambushed on the Srinagar-Jammu highway at Latoomode in Awantipora in South Kashmir.
Addressing the nation after Pulwama attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted that the security forces have been given permission to choose the timing, place, and nature of their response. "All tears will be avenged" and the armed forces have been given "full freedom to decide the place, time, intensity and nature of the retaliation against the enemy. I feel the same fire in the heart that's raging inside you," said the Prime Minister.
On February 26, Indian fighter jets entered deep inside Pakistan and bombed JeM terror camps in Balakot. The air strike was followed by an aerial combat between air forces of the two countries on February 27 when Pakistan jets entered India. While chasing Pakistani jet an Indian Air Force jet crashed in Pakistan occupied Kashmir following which its injured pilot was captured.
For a moment, it appeared that the worst moment in the hostility of the two nations has just arrived. But sanity prevailed and Pakistan quickly announced to release the Indian pilot and the two sides walked back from the cliff.
Hours after the attack, Foreign Secretary of India in a press conference said, “In an intelligence-led operation in the early hours of today (Feb 26), India struck the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot. In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were eliminated.”
(With Agency Inputs)