New Delhi: Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on Monday sought to put an end to doubts and speculations over the February 26 IAF attack on terror camps in Balakot.
Addressing media, Dhano said that it was not their job to state the number of casualties, but only to count the targets hit. He added that it was the government’s job to specify the number of casualties. “We hit our target. The air force doesn’t calculate casualty numbers, the government does that. The IAF is not in a postilion to clarify the number of casualties. The government will clarify that. We don’t count human casualties, we count what targets we have hit or not,” he asserted.
The Air Chief Marshal sought to clear them in a press briefing held in Coimbatore today. On being asked if Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman would continue to fly, Dhanoa said that depended on his fitness level. “That’s why post-ejection, he has undergone a medical check. Whatever treatment required, will be given. Once we get his medical fitness, he will get into a fighter cockpit,” he said. (Also Read: Pakistan’s ISI Planning to Poison Ration Stocks of Security Forces in Kashmir, Reveals Intelligence Note)
Dhanoa clarified that MiG 21 was used because “it is a capable aircraft, it has been upgraded, it has better radar, air-to-air missiles and better weapons system”. He added, “One is a planned operation in which you plan and carry out. But when an adversary does a strike on you, every available aircraft goes in, irrespective of which aircraft it is. All aircraft are capable of fighting the enemy.”
Talking about the current situation on the border, BS Dhanoa said, “I will not comment on the operation but it is still ongoing”.
The Air Chief Marshal also said that “the target has been clearly amplified by FS in his statement”. He said, “If we plan to hit the target, we hit the target, otherwise, why would he (Pak PM) have responded, if we dropped bombs in the jungles why would he respond.”
We have got pieces of the AMRAAM missile in our territory which we displayed & obviously I think they (Pakistan) have lost an F-16 aircraft in that combat, obviously they have been using the aircraft against us,” the Air Chief Marshal added.
Dhanoa refused to be drawn into a debate on whether Pakistan violated its agreement with the US by using F16s against India, saying “I don’t know what’s the individual agreement between America and Pakistan. If the individual agreement was that they’ll not use it (F-16) for offensive purposes, then I think they have violated that”.
On February 26, the Indian Air Force carried out a pre-emptive and non-military strike on Pakistan’s soil. The following day, Islamabad made a failed attempt to target military installations in India in which one MiG 21 was lost and an IAF pilot went “missing in action”. Varthaman, who was later confirmed to be in Pakistan’s custody, was handed over on Friday.