Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa during a press briefing (PTI Photo)
Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on Friday said that Pakistan was refusing to acknowledge the damage caused by the Air Force fighter jets in Balakot even though the proof existed in the form of bombed-out Jaish-e-Mohammed camp. The IAF chief quoted an iconic Bob Dylan track when asked about Pakistan denying any damage in the February 26 air strike by IAF’s Mirage 2000 fighter jets in response to the Pulwama attack in which over 40 CRPF soldiers were killed.
"It is there in front of you (Pakistan), but you don’t want to see it...I can only recall Dylan, ‘And how many times can a man turn his head, and pretend that he just doesn’t see; the answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind..," The Hindustan Times quoted Dhanoa as saying.
Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) killed 42 CRPF personnel and injured dozens of others in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district on February 14. In response to the attack, India launched a counter-terror operation and conducted air strike in Balakot inside Pakistani territory.
IAF claimed it destroyed a major terror camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed - the terrorist organisation which took the responsibility of the Pulwama attack. However, Pakistan accepted that Indian fighter jets did enter Balakot but denied any damage as claimed by India.
A day after India's air strike, the Pakistani Air Force (PAF) even tried to carry out a Balakot-like attack against Indian military targets but failed miserably.
"On February 27, the Pakistani Air Force with its package of more than 20 planes led by the American F-16s along with the French Mirage-IIIs and Chinese JF-17, fired 11 H-4 1,000 kg bombs from ranges of around 50 km inside their territory at military targets at three locations but failed to hit any of them," news agency ANI quoted government sources as saying.