On Tuesday, early in the morning, Indian Air Force bombed a training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), the group that claimed credit for a suicide bomb attack that killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police in Kashmir on Feb. 14.
The air strike took place at the hillside camp of JeM in Balakot in Pakistan, which is more than 50 km (30 miles) from the Line of Control that divides — India and Pakistan — administered Kashmir. The strike took place between 3:45 a.m. and 4:04 a.m.
At 5.12 am on Tuesday, the Pakistan Army spokesperson, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, sent out a tweet: “Indian Air Force violated Line of Control. Pakistan Air Force immediately scrambled. Indian aircrafts gone back. Details to follow”.
The Pakistan Air Force failed to detect the presence of the Indian fighter jets as their surveillance system had been jammed by the IAF during its raid at Balakot militant camp, sources said.
12 Mirage 2000 Indian fighter jets carrying 1000 kgs of bombs, an airborne early warning and control (AWAC) aircraft system, a mid-air refueller and drones were used during the attack.
The Mirage 2000 bombers used guided bombs with GPS coordinates fed into them to strike with precision and avoid any collateral damage.
The AWAC is typically used to jam an enemy’s radar. This can be done for a very short time until the enemy’s anti-radar technology kicks in, said a former Indian airforce pilot.
Pakistan Army spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor later providing details of the attack issued a statement saying that: “A second formation of Indian jets then came close to Okara-Bahawalpur area of international border and the second CAP [combat air patrol mission] became airborne to counter it as per the SOP [standard operating procedure].”
“Our radars then picked a heavy formation in Muzaffarabad sector approaching from Keran valley. This was a heavy team – four minutes they crossed while coming in and four minutes while going back – they did not attack,” Ghafoor added.
“When our airforce challenged them – and repulsed them effectively, though they had come in four-five nautical miles – they retreated. While leaving, they jettisoned their payload. Given the angle of exit, the payload – four bombs – fell on Jaba and they went back,” Ghafoor claimed.