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At IAF conference, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman praises air strikes

An IAF spokesperson quoted her saying this in her address to the force’s top brass at a biannual commanders’ conference here.

india Updated: Apr 11, 2019 23:24 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
IAF,Nirmala Sitharaman,Balakot
New Delhi: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addresses a press conference, in New Delhi, Thursday, April 11, 2019. (PTI file photo)

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday praised the Indian Air Force (IAF) for the “flawless execution” of the February 26 air strike on a terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot and thwarting the Pakistani response the following day.

An IAF spokesperson quoted her saying this in her address to the force’s top brass at a biannual commanders’ conference here.

Sitharaman said the IAF proved its mettle in Exercise Gagan Shakti (2018) and Vayu Shakti (2019) and it reflected in the successful Balakot strike and the dogfight the next day, according to an IAF release.

She said the actions and conduct of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was captured in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir after he ejected as his MiG-21 was hit, reflected the high standards of training in the IAF. Pakistan released him on March 1. The strike was carried out after Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility for the February 14 car bomb attack that left 40 paramilitary troopers dead in Pulwama.

First Published: Apr 11, 2019 23:23 IST