India TV on Friday night in its programme 'Aaj Ki Baat' telecast details about the meticulous planning that went into the daring IAF air strikes at the Jaish terror facility located in Balakot inside Pakistan. The actionable intelligence included details of the rooms inside the campus where the terrorists, their trainers, handlers and ISI army officers were staying. For the first time, these details have been made available to the media for the benefit of those who still doubt whether the air strikes were successful or not.
The idea of air strikes had originally come from Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal B. S. Dhanoa, who was himself a fighter pilot. He had a major role to play during the air strikes during 1999 Kargil conflict.
Air strikes nowadays are carried out only when detailed layout and plan alongwith info about specific targets are made available to the fighter pilots. Laser guided smart bombs are designed to hit specific targets only. The entire layout was mapped from satellite surveillance.
There were already info about terrorists' trail through dense forests to the hill top where the Jaish facility was located. There was also info from intelligence that nearly 300 terrorists had gathered at the campus and the Jaish chief Maulana Masood Azhar was expected to come in the next 2-3 days. But our Air Chief decided not to wait, and went in for the air strike.
When the air strike plan was prepared for our Mirage-2000 jets, the main worry was how the Pakistan Air Force would react. The Prime Minister had given clear instructions that there should be no casualties on our side.
Our strategists found out that the Pakistan Air Force command would take 13 minutes to make their aircraft airborne to counter our fighter planes. Thus, our Air Force had a 13-minute window to enter the enemy airspace, carry out the strikes and return safely. The air strikes took place at 4:02 am and all our aircraft returned safely. By the time the Pakistani F-16 aircraft took off to counter the air strikes, it was too late.
Already the IAF had other jet aircraft ready to provide cover to our Mirage-2000 aircraft. Had the PAF F-16 aircraft come in hot pursuit into our air space, they could have been shot down. Pakistan Air Force has admitted that their aircraft withdrew when they found a strong squadron of our aircraft waiting for them.
One vital point: The Pakistan army was expecting a surgical strike on land either across the Line of Control or near the international border. It was because of this reason, Jaish terrorists were withdrawn 50 km away from the LoC and stationed at Balakot deep inside Pakistani territory.
The Pakistani army did not have an inkling that the IAF would carry out air strikes on Balakot camp. It was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who revealed at a public rally that the enemy had expected a surgical strike on land, but the strikes were carried out from air.
Watch the full episode here:
Aaj Ki Baat: Monday to Friday, 9 PM
India’s Number One and the most followed Super Prime Time News Show ‘Aaj Ki Baat – Rajat Sharma Ke Saath’ was launched just before the 2014 General Elections. Since its inception the show is redefining India’s super prime time and is numerically far ahead of its contemporaries.