‘Pakistan failed to achieve objective in counter-attack’: IAF Chief BS Dhanoa
The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) failed to achieve its objective when it launched a counter-attack on February 27 through the Nowshera sector in Jammu, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said on Monday, addressing a seminar in New Delhi organised to mark the birth centenary of Marshal of Air Force Arjan Singh.
On February 26, Indian Air Force fighters struck a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) training camp in Balakot deep inside Pakistan, killing an unspecified number of terrorists. “We had technology on our side, we could launch precision standoff weapons with great accuracy,” Dhanoa said.
In the February 27 PAF counter-attack, the IAF lost a MiG-21 fighter jet and Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was taken captive by Pakistan after his plane was shot down over the Line of Control (LoC). In the aerial dogfight, Varthaman shot down an F-16 of the PAF. Varthaman was released on March 1.
“We came out better because we had upgraded our MiG-21 Bisons and Mirage-2000 aircraft. Imagine fighting with the MiG-21 Bis. The results would have been further skewed in our favour had we inducted our Rafale aircraft in time,” the Air Chief said. He added that Pakistan could not hit the military targets it wanted to.
The Rafale jets and the S-400 Surface-to-Air-Missile system likely to be inducted in the next “two-four years would once again tilt the technological balance in our favour like it was in 2002 during Op Parakaram,” he said, referring to the 2001-2002 standoff between India and Pakistan.
By the end of 2030, more than 50% of the IAF fleet would be made in India, he said. India is looking to induct more than 120 India-made Light Combat Aircraft Tejas.