PAF’s Operation Swift Retort – Feb 27 continues to haunt IAF

Islamabad, February 27 (KMS): Three years after the downing of two Indian Air Force aircraft and capture of one pilot, the IAF is yet to recover from the humiliation at the hands of a far smaller adversary – the PAF which exposed to the world the inherent military weakness of a “nuclear-armed” India.

The Indian botched attempt to strike deep inside Pakistan following a false flag operation at Pulwama, and counter strike by the PAF on Feb 27 established its military and technological superiority, shattering to pieces the myth of Indian military might.

On 14 February 2019, a young Kashmiri boy, resenting Indian oppression of Kashmiri people, drove a vehicle packed with explosives into a convoy of 78 buses carrying Indian paramilitary police in Pulwama, killing 40 CRPF personnel. Moments after the attack the Indian media and government immediately blamed Pakistan before even the start of any investigation.

Prime Minister Khan promised to conduct an investigation, provided Delhi could provide any “actionable evidence.” He however also warned that Pakistan would “retaliate” if attacked. Nevertheless, the Indians opted to carry out an airstrike across the border on an imaginary terrorist training camp on the Pakistani side

The Indian authorities code-named the attack on Balakot as “Operation Bandar” to minimize the chances of leaking the news. The word “Bandar” was chosen because monkeys enjoy a sacred place in the Hindu religion and this refers to a tale in the religious myths of Hinduism where Hanuman – a deity who shows resemblance to the monkey – secretly entered Lanka and burned it to the ground.

The Indian Air Force launched an aerial strike near ‘Balakot’ On Feb 26, 2019, targeting a religious seminary that India described as a militant camp, and claimed killing more than 300 terrorists but without sharing any shred of evidence to corroborate the claims.

The well-rehearsed operation involving 20 Mirage 2000 aircrafts carrying Spice 2000 and Crystal Maze missiles had the support of Airborne Early Warning systems. They failed to deliver their payload on the target despite practising on the simulator and pre-fed coordinates on the bombs.

According to Hindustan Times on February 26, 2019 at 3.45am the then Air Chief BS Dhanoa made a telephone call to National Security Adviser Ajit Doval on a secure fixed-line network and said “Bandar mara gaya” – “The monkey has been killed,” but at the end of the day, the reality proved that they just made a monkey of themselves.

Following the strike Prime Minister Imran Khan in a hard-hitting statement categorically said “India has committed uncalled-for aggression to which Pakistan shall respond at the time and place of its choosing … Armed Forces and the people of Pakistan to remain prepared for all eventualities.”

The Indian aircraft dropped their payload near a hillside, killing one crow and damaging a few precious pine trees, an act which prompted Prime Minister Imran Khan to repeatedly say that he was very hurt, as trees were very close to his heart.

Military attache’ and foreign media also later visited the site and also went to the nearby madrassa of local village children, who were lucky enough to escape the Indian recklessness.

India claimed that its air force had managed to kill more than 300 terrorists while Pakistan but several international observers negated the claim as there were no casualties and the bombs had clearly missed the target, which in fact was not a terrorist camp, but an ordinary religious school, for the village children.

“The Pakistanis are bound to react, conventionally and not through a proxy like a militant group,” Rahul Bedi, an analyst at the London-based Jane’s Information Group told the New York Times. “Where they react and when is something that only Pakistanis know.”

The newspaper pointed out that in the run-up to Indian elections this spring, and with Modi facing a fierce re-election fight, voters have demanded that New Delhi respond to the Kashmir attack with force against Pakistan.

“What they hit is speculation for now,” Bedi said. “This is more political symbolism than anything else. Mr. Modi had to show some demonstrable action on India’s part, ahead of elections.”

In response, Pakistan Air Force launched a counter-strike on Feb 27, 2019, intended primarily to demonstrate Pakistan’s resolve. The strike was carefully crafted to avoid casualties on the ground.

During the short aerial encounter that followed, PAF shot down two IAF aircraft and captured one of the pilots. The debris of the SU-30 fell in IOK and its pilot was killed, while the MiG-21 pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, whose aircraft fell on the Pakistan side was captured alive.

The success of the Pakistan Air Force in Operation Swift Retort against a far bigger adversary is now observed as a “Surprise Day” every year.

Hours later the jittery Indian Air Force IAF shot down its own Mi-17 helicopter with SPYDER air defense system killing six Air Force personnel and one civilian. India claimed that one of its Mig-21s shot down Pakistan’s F-16 aircraft which was also refuted by the influential Foreign Policy magazine based on interviews with the US Department of Defence (DoD) officials who verified that no F-16 was missing from the Pakistani inventory.

According to the magazine, Pakistan invited the US to physically count its F-16 planes after the incident as part of an end-user agreement signed when the foreign military sale was finalized.

Some of the aircraft were not immediately available for inspection due to the conflict, so it took US personnel several weeks to account for all of the jets, one US official said.

But now the count has been completed, and “all aircraft were present and accounted for,” the official said.”

Courtesy: APP

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