Exactly two months after the Balakot airstrikes, the Indian Air Force has for the first time officially acknowledged the number of targets and other details of the fateful day. The review of the February 26 airstrikes includes IAF pliots’ performance, execution and other details. Multiple media reports on Thursday published some of the points of the report, which has still not been released officially by the Indian Air Force. One of the major highlights of the review was how the ‘surprise element’ completely stunned the Pakistani military establishment.
According to an HT report, the IAF review showed that Pakistani was so stunned by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa strikes that it took 10 minutes for them to scramble the jets. The HT report said that planes were sent from as many as eight Pakistani air bases. However, the Pakistani jets were 10 minutes late in taking action. By the time they went up in air, the Indian Air Force jets had ‘delivered the package’ and turned back for their journey back home.
Other ‘positives’ of the review were: accuracy of intelligence, target selection, proficiency and skills of pilots, deception at the strategic and tactical level and accuracy of the weapons. However, there were some negatives also. They were: unfavourable weather conditions creating problems for the fleet, entire package wasn’t delivered.
While the air force has been very professional on the Balakot air strike, political parties have been embroiled in bitter war of words. The Congress has been demanding proof of the casualties in the JeM camp attack, the BJP has been calling such questions as anti-national. Earlier, Sam Pitroda’s controversial statement on the Indian Air Force’s air strike on Jaish-e-Mohammed’s terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot sparked a massive political controversy. Pitroda had asked the government to come out with "more facts" on the Balakot air strikes, and said that he was "baffled" by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's reaction to his question which he was entitled to ask. Pitroda, chief of Indian Overseas Congress, also said it was good to have a debate, discussion, dialogue and discourse, and it does not amount to questioning anyone.