New Delhi: Former Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Birender Singh Dhanoa on Wednesday recalled the Balakot Airstrike on its first anniversary, remarking that the message that the IAF wanted to give was ‘ghus kar maarenge‘ (will enter your territory and hit you) no matter where you are. Also Read - What if Abhinandan Varthaman Flew a Rafale Instead of MiG 21: Former Air Chief Reveals Details of Balakot Airstrike
The IAF had carried out the airstrike on February 26, 2019, in Pakistan’s Balakot, targeting a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) camp in retaliation to the Pulwama suicide attack, which took place on February 14, in which over 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were martyred. The attack was carried out by the JeM. Also Read - Director Abhishek Kapoor Collaborates With Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Bhushan Kumar For Film Based on Balakot Airstrike
In an interview to news agency ANI, the former Air Chief Marshal (ACM), said, “It’s been one year and we look back with satisfaction. We have learnt a lot of lessons, a lot of things have been implemented after Balakot operations.” Also Read - Haryana Assembly Election 2019: 'They Start Jumping With Pain When Anyone Says Balakot', PM Modi Attacks Congress at Sonipat
He added that post the airstrike, there was no major terrorist attack during the elections as Pakistan was ‘scared’ that the IAF would respond ‘more devastatingly.’
He further remarked that one year later, he can look back with ‘a lot of satisfaction,’ having learnt ‘a lot of lessons’. “A lot of things have been implemented,” he said. He also called the operation a ‘paradigm shift’ as Pakistan ever thought that India could respond like this.
“The message that we wanted to give was, ‘ghus kar maarenge’ no matter where you are. Otherwise, we could have attacked them from our territory as well,” he added.
A day after the strike, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) carried out a counter-strike in which the IAF shot down a PAF F-16 fighter jet. However, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who shot down the F-16, was captured by Pakistan, as his MiG-21, too, was shot down.
He was later released and was awarded the Vir Chakra Independence Day last.