Pak Didn’t Violate Indian Airspace After Balakot, Says IAF Chief
He also said that Pakistan’s ban on Indian flights in its airspace is “their problem”.
Indian Air Force (IAF) chief BS Dhanoa on Monday, 24 June, said that Pakistani planes did not enter Indian territory during the aerial dogfight which followed the Balakot air strike. He also said that Pakistan’s ban on Indian flights in its airspace is “their problem”.
He was speaking at an event at the Gwalior air base to commemorate two decades of the 1999 Kargil war.
“Let me also tell you, at Balakot, they didn’t come into our airspace... We achieved our objective of executing a strike in Balakot. Their objective was to strike our military bases. They weren’t able to do that.”Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, IAF Chief
"That's the bottom-line," he said, adding that the smaller details of the conflict weren't relevant.
Notably, in a press release dated 27 February 2019, the MEA stated that Pakistan had violated Indian airspace.
Speaking about the Pakistan’s extended ban on Indian civilian flights in its airspace, he said,
“They (Pakistan) have closed their airspace, that is their problem. Our economy is vibrant and air traffic is a very important part of it. You will notice that the Air Force has never stopped our civil air traffic.”
Islamabad has shut its eastern airspace to civilian flights to and from India after the Indian Air Force struck a Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp inside Pakistan territory in retaliation to a suicide bombing which killed 44 Indian paramilitary personnel in Pulwama in February 2019. They will not lift the ban until New Delhi commits to not repeating the air strikes, sources told The Times of India.
In response to a question on the recent crash of an IAF AN-32 aircraft in Arunachal Pradesh in which all 13 crew died, Dhanoa said, "AN-32 aircraft will continue to fly in mountainous areas. We don't have a replacement."
"We are in the process of getting more modern aircraft which will be put in critical role once received, and AN-32 will be out and used for transport and training purposes," he added.
At the event, the Air Chief Marshal also said that the integration of targeting pods and laser-guided bomb system for the Mirage 2000 aircraft for the Kargil war was done in a record time of 12 days.
(With inputs from ANI and The Times of India)
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