In his first public remarks after leaving office, former Air Chief BS Dhanoa said India was ready to escalate the conflict along the line of control by targeting Pakistan’s military installations if Islamabad had been ‘successful’ in targeting Indian territory in response to New Delhi’s airstrikes on February 26.
The Pakistani air force had failed to hit a single target in the Rajouri-Poonch sector despite launching precision-guided missiles from Mirage fighter jets. Imran Khan’s government has been claiming that the retaliatory attack was not an attempt to escalate tensions with India but just a ‘demonstration’ of Pakistan’s ‘capabilities’.
BS Dhanoa added that Indian Air Force specifically targeted Jaish terror infrastructure as India had no intensions to ‘pick a fight’ with Pakistan. Had this been the case, Dhanoa says, New Delhi had Sukhoi 30-BrahMos combination available but as it was not a ‘kill all’ mission and just a precision strike on terror infrastructure so Air Force chose weapon with limited impact.
However, all the three services gave their clearances in case escalation took place along the LoC, former Air Chief says.
Responding to the query whether Indian Air Force had missed its target when it launched Spice 2000 satellite guided bombs against the Jaish facility, Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa (Retired) said that for the sake of winning perception battle in the media, 'operational capability involved in the execution of the Balakot airstrike and intelligence capability cannot be compromised.
On February 26, India launched airstrikes on terror camps in Pakistan to avenge the dastardly attacks in Pulwama. One day later, on February 27, Islamabad responded with the violation of Indian airspace in the Rajouri sector of Jammu and Kashmir and dropped bombs when they were exiting.
As per reports, an F-16 fighter of the Pakistan Air Force was shot down by the Indian Air Force and was seen falling in Lam area, about three kilometers inside Pakistan.
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