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India has delivered befitting reply to terrorists, say Pune-based defence experts

Lt General (retd) DS Hooda, former chief of the army’s northern command under whose watch the 2016 surgical strikes were conducted, complimented the union government and the Air Force for carrying out the daring strikes in enemy territory.

pune Updated: Feb 27, 2019 15:37 IST
Nadeem Inamdar
Nadeem Inamdar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,defence experts,terrorists
Air Marshal (retd ) Bhushan Gokhale, who had flown several operational air-to-ground attack missions during the Indo-Pak war of 1971, said the IAF strike was a major blow to Pakistan as Indian fighter aircraft had penetrated deep into Pakistani territory to carry out the air strikes.(Rahul Raut/ HT Photo )

Top defence experts and retired military brass have hailed the air strikes against Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps in Pakistan as a “befitting reply” to anyone who meddled in the internal affairs of the nation.

“This kind of action was needed to be taken,” said Lt General (retd) DS Hooda, former chief of the army’s northern command under whose watch the 2016 surgical strikes were conducted.

Reacting to the air strikes carried out by Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets against Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps in Balakot, Pakistan, in the wee hours of Tuesday, Hooda said this kind of action was needed to be undertaken. He complimented the union government and the Air Force for carrying out the daring strikes in enemy territory.

Lt Gen D S Hooda ( HT Photo )

“There was no doubt in my mind that after Pulwama terror attack, the Indian government will definitely take some strong action and I compliment the government for this strike,” he said.

At the same time, Hooda cautioned that the government needs to be alert as Pakistan might respond to this strike.

Air Marshal ( Retd ) Bhushan Gokhale, who had flown several operational air-to-ground attack missions during the Indo-Pak war of 1971, said the IAF strike was a major blow to Pakistan as Indian fighter aircraft had penetrated deep into Pakistani territory to carry out the air strikes.

“Barring 1965 and 1971, India has not gone into Pakistani territory. This time, the IAF went 80 km deep into Pakistan and carried out the strikes which has shaken the Pakistani establishment.”

He said that previously, India had not crossed the Line of Control (LOC) into Pakistan as it did not want to escalate hostilities. “We are proud of the Indian Air Force which hit out the terrorist targets with precision and without any loss to our nation. Pakistan was caught napping and it never thought that we could cross the LOC to bust the terror camps,” Gokhale said.

He observed that the timing chosen by the IAF to carry out the strike- between 2 am to 4 am- was also perfect.

Air Marshal Gokhale pointed out that electronic intelligence was very important to carry out such precision strikes in enemy territory and it requires imaging, photo recognition, satellite information and keeping a watch on enemy movement.

He noted that after Pulwana attacks, the responsibility for the attack was owned by Jaish E Mohammed as a result of which the presence of its hideouts and camps in Pakistan surfaced before the world community.

“India has carried out the attack as self defence and this has also given a message to China. India will give a befitting reply to anyone who tried to meddle in the internal security of the country ,” he said.

Lt. Gen (retd.) DB Shekatkar, a former divisional commander in Kashmir and additional director-general, military operations, said, the airstrikes had been done in the area opposite to Baramulla district, across the line of control. These were areas such as Chakoti near the line of control , Uri and Balakot which is more close to Khyber Pakhtunwa, the biggest terrorist training centre of Pakistan.

LT Gen DB Shekatkar ( HT Photo )

“Even during 1971 war, we did not bomb Balakot,” he said, adding that “India had no option but to punish Pakistan.”

The precision of the air attack could be gauged by the fact that not even one innocent person had been hurt, he said.

“Our fight is not against the innocent people of Pakistan,” Shekatkar said, adding that IAF jets did half an hour strike.

“We went inside POK at 3 am and at 4.15 am were back and bombed ten different places and it shows capability of young pilots and the IAF. This is not revenge but it is warning to Pakistan. If Pakistan forces us to do it we have no option but to recover everthing and retaliate once again,” he said.

First Published: Feb 27, 2019 14:30 IST