19 minutes, 12 jets, a big target: This is what the IAF did in Pakistan while you were asleep
India woke up early morning today to the buzz of Indian Air Force (IAF) carrying out surgical strikes on terror camps inside Pakistan. Slowly, the details started coming in and it became apparent that India had avenged the Jaish-e-Muhammad attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama less than two weeks ago.
This is said to be the first cross-border air strike India has carried out in nearly five decades. The last such action was during the Bangladesh war in 1971. In an official statement, foreign affairs secretary has confirmed the strike. Here are details from various reports based on information from official sources.
Twelve Mirage 2000 fighter jets struck joint training camps of Jaish and LeT inside Pakistan and completely destroyed them by shelling 1,000 kg bombs. It took 19 minutes to complete the operation.
Mirage 2000 jets hit Balakot 24 KM NW of Muzaffarabad at 3:45 am and the strike went on till 3:53 am. Hitting Balakot is a historic high for IAF because it not only crossed the LoC (Line of Actual Control), they crossed the entire Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and then hit the target inside Khyber Pakhtukhwa. IAF has hit targets inside Pakistan after many decades. It is also the biggest Jaish camp.
The support system
Reportedly, IAF had deployed an elaborate support system for these surgical strikes. Surveillance was heightened. Heron drones and early-warning system AWACS were used to keep an eye on any action emanating from Pakistan while mid-air refuellers were also deployed for any emergency use. A Twitter handle @CivMilAir the location of AWACS over Delhi early morning today. “Airborne Early Warning eyes in the sky up over New Delhi”.
There are unconfirmed reports that Pakistan might have tried to intercept IAF jets but failed since even Pakistan did not claim of shooting down any Indian jet. A Pakistani Twitter user has posted what he claims to be “action” by Pakistan air force.”Visuals of Pak Air Force in Action over and around Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir, and areas near LoC after failed attempt by Indian air force to intrude into Pak air space.”
Pakistan did scramble jets to retaliate but, according to an ANI report, turned back due to the sheer size of the Indian formation.
Statement by Foreign Secretary on 26 February 2019 on the Strike on JeM training camp at Balakot:
On 14 February 2019, a suicide terror attack was conducted by a Pak based terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammad, leading to the martyrdom of 40 brave jawans of the CRPF. JeM has been active in Pakistan for the last two decades, and is led by MASOOD AZHAR with its headquarters in Bahawalpur.
This organization, which is proscribed by the UN, has been responsible of a series of terrorist attacks including on the Indian Parliament in December 2001 and the Pathankot airbase in January 2016.
Information regarding the location of training camps in Pakistan and PoJK has been provided to Pakistan from time to time. Pakistan, however, denies their existence. The existence of such massive training facilities capable of training hundreds of jidhadis could not have functioned without the knowledge of Pakistan authorities.
India has been repeatedly urging Pakistan to take action against the JeM to prevent jihadis from being trained and armed inside Pakistan. Pakistan has taken no concrete actions to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism on its soil.
Credible intelligence was received that JeM was attempting another suicide terror attack in various parts of the country, and the fidayeen jihadis were being trained for this purpose. In the face of imminent danger, a preemptive strike became absolutely necessary.
In an intelligence led operation in the early hours of today, 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. This facility at Balakot was headed by MAULANA YOUSUF AZHAR (alias USTAD GHOURI), the brother-in-law of MASOOD AZHAR, Chief of JeM.