The Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out an air strike on Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps across Line of Control (LoC) and almost four months after the successful operation, defence sources have revealed that it codenamed 'Operation Bandar'.
"In order to maintain secrecy and ensure that the plans don't leak out, the Balakot operations were given the codename Operation Bandar," senior defence sources told ANI.
Without detailing any specific reason behind the name, people privy with the development said monkeys have always held a special place in India's war culture as seen in the epic Ramayana, where Lord Rama's lieutenant Lord Hanuman quietly sneaked into Lanka and destroyed the entire capital city of the demon Ravana.
The swift air strike, that lasted less than two minutes, reportedly killed 350 terrorists and trainers who were moved at Balakot camp for their protection after the Pulwama attack. However, there is no official confirmation on the number of casualties in the strike.
This was the first time since the 1971 war that India has used air power against Pakistan. The entire operation, it is learnt, was over in 20 minutes, starting at 3.45 am and ending at 4.05 am.
The facility at Balakot, located in a thick forest on a hilltop far from civilian presence, was headed by Maulana Yousuf Azhar, alias Ustad Ghouri, the brother-in-law of Jaish chief Masood Azhar, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale had said.
The Jaish has been active in Pakistan for the last two decades and has its headquarters in Bahawalpur in Pakistan's Punjab province, he said in the statement.
Pakistan had admitted that the IAF planes struck Balakot but claimed that they returned when it scrambled its war planes.