Updated February 26th, 2024 at 14:27 IST

Balakot Airstrike: 5 Years Of ‘Operation Bandar’ By Indian Air Force

Indian Air Force's 'Operation Bandar' targeted JeM camp in Balakot after Pulwama attack. Led to tensions with Pakistan but halted major terror strikes.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Mirage Flight Jets and Balakot Target | Image:ANI
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On February 14, 2019, when the whole world was celebrating the festival of love on Valentine's Day, India was mourning the loss of its 40 CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) personnel. It was a suicide bombing attack that was executed by a van at Lethapora in the Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir state. 

In retaliation, the Indian Air Force conducted “Operation Bandar” in Balakot town in the Mansehra district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa state of Pakistan. The Indian Air Force targeted the biggest terror training camp of JeM at Balakot. A fleet of IAF Mirage 2000 fighter jets was sent across the border for this operation. 

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The Indian Air Force used five Israeli SPICE bombs with penetrator warheads that were dropped on the terrorist base camps in the Balakot area. This operation was carried out at 3:30 am, and a few minutes after dropping bombs on the target, fighter jets of the Indian Air Force returned to the base. 

What Happened Next:

The next day, the Pakistan Air Force responded and attacked the Rajouri sector. In this attack, the Indian Air Force shot down an F-16 fighter jet of the Pakistan Air Force, but they lost one MIG-21 Bison in Pakistani territory. The pilot of that fighter jet was Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who went after chasing the Pakistan plane and shot it down. The forces of the neighbouring country imprisoned him, but later he was forced to be released by Pakistan on March 1. Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was awarded the wartime gallantry award, the Vir Chakra. 

Impact of the Balakot Air Strike 2019: 

The Indian Air Force destroyed the biggest terrorist camp in the border area, and it stopped the daily attacks in the Kashmir valley. Moreover, after that, the country has not reported any big attacks. The government took a bold step in teaching Pakistan a tough lesson: it won’t bend down against the nuclear war threat this time. 

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Published February 26th, 2024 at 14:27 IST