New Delhi, Feb 26, 2002: On the first anniversary of the Balakot air strike on camps of terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), former chief of the Indian Air Force Air Marshal BS Dhanoa on Wednesday described it as a “paradigm shift” in Indian military operations, Hindustan Times reported.
“Basically, it’s a paradigm shift in the way we conduct our operations. The other side never believed that we could carry out a strike inside Pakistan to take out a terror training camp that we successfully carried out,” he told ANI.
“One year has gone past and we look back with satisfaction. We have learnt a lot of lessons, a lot of things have been implemented after Balakot operations.”
The IAF carried out the air strikes 12 days after a Jaish suicide bomber rammed an explosive laden car into a convoy of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Pulwama, killing 40 troopers.
Air Marshal Dhanoa who retired last September, said the Balakot air strike also acted as a deterrent against any possible terror attacks during the general elections in April and May.
“After Balakot air strike, there was no major terrorist attack throughout the Indian elections because they were scared that we will respond again in the same manner or even more devastatingly,” the former IAF chief said.
The day after the Balakot air strikes, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fighter aircraft breached Indian air space over Jammu and Kashmir, prompting the IAF to scramble its own warplanes to repulse the raiders. In that operation, Wing Commander who was flying a MiG 21 Bison shot down a Pakistani F-16 aircraft before his own place was hit and forced him to bail out.
The IAF pilot who was captured by Pakistan troops was released on March 2. Wing Commander Abhinandan who was conferred the Vir Chakra, resumed flying in August last year.