On 26th of February, the nation marked one-year completion of one of the most significant air strikes by IAF in over four decades.To avenge the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir, India conducted an aerial strike at a terror training centre in Balakot of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on February 26 last year (2019).
Forty soldiers were killed in the terror attack claimed by Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed on February 14. It was the second major cross-LoC/border response from India in the aftermath of a major terror attack in less than three years. The first such response was the surgical strike across the Line of Control in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) in 2016 days after terror attack at Uri base camp of the Indian Army.
On the first anniversary of Balakot air strikes, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria PVSM AVSM VM ADC, Chief of the Air Staff flew a five aircraft mission at Srinagar Air Base along with aircrew from Squadrons that had participated in the operations on 26th and 27th February last year .
The CAS flew a MiG-21 Type 69 aircraft along with the Commanding Officer of 51 Sqn, Gp Capt Kamran Nazeer in a formation comprising of one MiG-21, two Mirage-2000s and two Sukhoi-30 MKIs.
26 February 2019 was a momentous day as it bore testimony to the professionalism and operational preparedness of men and women of the IAF who successfully executed a very complex mission and achieved their objectives under extremely challenging conditions.
Marking the day, the IAF saluted the spirit, tenacity and sacrifice of its brave Air Warriors and assures the Nation of its unstinting resolve. The IAF stands shoulder to shoulder with other Defence Services in discharge of its sacred duty of defending the nation’s sovereignty and integrity.
The writer is a Delhi-based independent contributor to print and online publications
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