On February 26, 2019, India Air Force’s pre-dawn air strike deep into Pakistan changed the history forever. Though, there has no official sequence of events released by the Government of India, latest reports have managed to chalk out a flowchart that shows the extent to which the air force went to execute the masterplan. Now, a Times of India report has said that the Indian Air Force had sent a ‘decoy package’, which presumably means a missile targeting Jaish-e-Mohammed’s Bahawalpur headquarters to confuse the Pakistani forces. This means that while the PAF was supposedly chasing the ‘decoy package’ after intercepting it, the IAF carried out the Balakot air strikes.
The ‘decoy package’ took off from one of the airbases in Punjab, which was intercepted by the PAF, which resulted in clear airspace for the actual strike squad. The 1,000 kg bomb used by the IAF has now been identified as SPICE bombs. The SPICE (Smart Precise Impact and Cost Effective guidance kit) is a forward and tail kit evolved from the proven Popeye missile intended to convert unguided bombs into smart guided air-to-surface munitions droppable from standoff ranges. This weapon has day, night and adverse weather capability because of its dual infrared IR/CCD-TV seeker and advanced scene-matching algorithms.
The bombs, which had error margin of less than three metres, were loaded on Mirage-2000 combat jet at the IAF’s Gwalior airbase. The report also said that the SPICE bombs had pre-fed satellite details for the accurate geographical details of the terror camp. According an official, which was not named by the IAF, the bombs penetrated the roofs of the facility and blasted the camp.
The Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists, who were trained in the Balakot camp in Pakistan that was bombed by the Indian fighter jets, used to take four major infiltration routes to enter Jammu and Kashmir to carry out attacks, officials said. Kel, located in the Neelam valley in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, has also been used as the launching point for the terrorists who used to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir. The infiltration routes, which were often used by the JeM terrorists to enter India were Balakot-Kel-Dudhniyal in Kupwara district, Balakot-Kel-KainthawaIi in Magam forest in Kupwara, Balakot-Kel-Lolab in Kupwara and Balakot-Kel- Kachama-Kralpora in Kupwara, a security official said.
(With PTI inputs)