Indian Air Force Chief RKS Bhadauria on Wednesday said that the message of the Balakot airstrike, which the IAF carried out last year on this day, was clear that there will be a robust response to a terror attack from across the border.
“The message is clear that it will no longer be a status quo, if there is an attack orchestrated from across the border there will be a response and it will be a robust response,” the Air Chief told ANI.
The Chief of the Air Staff flew a sortie in MiG-21 of 51 Squadron with two Mirage-2000s and Sukhoi-30MKI from Srinagar airbase to mark the completion of one year of Balakot airstrikes.
“Today is the Balakot anniversary. So, it was really to get back to the boys to spend some time with them, fly a mission with them,” he said. Last year, on this day, Indian Air Force carried out air strikes in Pakistan’s Balakot, targetting Jaish-e-Muhammed’s (JeM) terror training camps.
The JeM had claimed responsibility of a deadly terror attack on February 14 in Pulwama, killing more than 40 CRPF personnel.
A day after Balakot airstrikes, the IAF foiled Pakistan Air Force retaliation in which India’s Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, while piloting a MiG 21, shot down Pakistan’s F-16.
“51 Squadron and Abhinandan demonstrated the spirit of the Air Force. They had no hesitation in engaging vastly superior aircraft in terms of technology and weapons, they did the right thing. Air Force is proud of them,” Bhadauria said.
Praising the Rafale aircraft, which India is procuring from France, the Air Chief said: “Rafale is a total game-changer. When we will use it along with the other aircraft we have in our inventory then we would be a different air force.”