Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria on Friday said that the Pakistani Air Force responded to the Balakot strike by the IAF under Operation Swift Retort for their domestic audience.
“The Pakistani Air Force (PAF) responded 30 hours later with a large package of aircraft under Operation Swift Retort for their domestic audience", Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria said at a seminar in New Delhi on Friday.
Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria said India had successfully struck its chosen target and that the IAF made sure the PAF wasn’t able to hit targets in retaliation. “Pakistani fighters were in a hurry to disengage", he added.
Chief of India's Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, who was also present, said the message of the Balakot airstrikes was clear, adding thata proxy war on India and its people would not be tolerated.
General Rawat further stated that if India has to be prepared for such attacks, it is important for the country to “maintain credible deterrence at land, air, and sea”.
India celebrated the first anniversary of the Balakot airstrikes on 26 February. The attack by the Indian Air Force was carried out in the wee hours on alleged terror launch pads in the Pakistani town of Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. New Delhi claimed several Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists, trainers, and suicide bombers, who were being trained for further attacks, were killed in the bombing.
Relations between India and Pakistan have continued to worsen since then. They were further exacerbated by New Delhi's revocation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution to strip the special status enjoyed by the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan, which claims to be a stake-holder in Kashmir declared a diplomatic offensive against India and suspended trade and communications also.
Jammu and Kashmir remain a bone of contention between the two nuclear-armed neighbours since they attained freedom from British colonial rule in 1947.