PM Modi appointed Balakot Air Strike planner, Samant Goel as the new Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) chief and Kashmir expert Arvind Kumar as the Director of the Intelligence Bureau.
As the chairman of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, PM Modi appointed the Indian Police Service (IPS) officers of the 1984 batch as the head of the two spy agencies.
Goel played a significant role in leading the Balakot Air Strikes on Jaish-e-Mohammed terror outfit deep within Pakistan in February 2019, as well as the surgical strikes conducted in 2016 following the terror attack on Uri base.
Meanwhile, Kumar, appointed as the IB chief has been looking closely into combating left-wing extremism and has been an expert on Kashmir at the intelligence agency
A few days earlier it was known that the Balakot airstrike was code named as ‘Operation Bandar (Monkey)’, to maintain secrecy.
"In order to maintain secrecy and ensure that the plans don't leak out, the Balakot operations were given the codename Operation Bandar," senior defence sources said.
Without detailing any specific reason behind the name, sources said monkeys have always held a special place in India's war culture as seen in the epic Ramayana, where Lord Rama's lieutenant Lord Hanuman quietly sneaked into Lanka and destroyed the entire capital city of the demon Ravana.
On February 26, 12 Mirages having taken off from multiple air bases crossed over into the Pakistani air space and carried out missile attacks on Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp in Balakot town of Khyber Pakhtunwa province.
The attacks were carried out at 3.30 AM and within a few minutes after dropping the bombs on their designated targets, the Indian Air Force planes returned to their bases. The aircraft used in the attack belonged to the No 7 and No 9 squadrons of the Indian Air Force and included the non-upgraded planes as the upgraded Mirages of the No 1 squadron did not have the air to ground strike capability at that moment.