Balakot airstrike: Distance between PAF and IAF fighters was at least 10 minutes

New Delhi: The strategic surprise of India’s Balakot airstrike was so complete that it was only after IAF’s Mirage-2000s bombed the terror camp and turned back that Pakistan scramble jets from as many as eight fighter bases.

These included the Pakistan Air Force base Mushaf in Sargoda, Rafiqui in Shorkot, Minhas in Kamra Attock, and Murid in Chakwal. But the distance between PAF and IAF fighters was at least 10 minutes, a senior officer in the security establishment said on condition of anonymity.

Post Pulwama attack, Pakistan was fearing a response, but from the PAF response it appears it did not expect India to take the aerial route, the officer added.

The report, a detailed assessment of the positives and negatives of the operation, to be used as a reference for future operations, was discussed at a high-level meeting of IAF recently.

The report talks about the accuracy of intelligence and the subsequent target selection.

‘We can hit any target inside Pakistan within 3 hours’

“With this quality of intelligence, we can hit any target inside Pakistan within three hours,” a second senior security establishment official said, asking not to be named.

Report lists the proficiency and skills of pilots

Among the other positives, the report lists the proficiency and skills of pilots who flew the mission, and describes them as “top class”. Keeping in the tradition of IAF, the Commanding Officers of the respective squadrons flew the mission. All pilots who flew the mission are likely to be awarded for their skill and ability.