Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency has been mulling a response to India to answer a potential future airstrike similar to that carried out by the IAF in Balakot while attacking a suspected terror camp, Zee Media reported.
The Indian media outlet claims it had seen intelligence reports suggesting that Pakistan has since adopted a multi-pronged strategy to prevent any retaliatory strike by New Delhi in the future.
Islamabad has allegedly accelerated the long-delayed purchase of up-to-date warfare systems and advanced radars, which it purportedly seeks to deploy along the de facto border for better surveillance.
The decision is said to have been prompted by Pakistan’s failure to detect the presence of the Indian warplanes because their surveillance system had allegedly been jammed by the Indian Air Force during the Balakot strikes in late February.
Zee Media then cited unnamed sources as claiming that Islamabad has now decided to boost the number of drones in Pakistan-administered Kashmir so that they can better monitor the situation on the international border, including the so-called Line of Control (LoC), which serves as a de facto border between India and Pakistan.
The tensions between India and Pakistan, who have been mired in an unresolved conflict since 1947, were exacerbated by an attack allegedly claimed by Pakistan-based Jaish-e Mohammad on a convoy of Indian military personnel in Pulwama on 14 February.
New Delhi accused Islamabad of providing a safe haven for terrorists and retaliated by launching an airstrike on a suspected Jaish-e Mohammad training camp in Balakot, Pakistan, on 26 February, later claiming that it had killed 300 terrorists and destroyed a number of facilities.
Pakistan has denied the existence of any such camps in the area, with regional news agencies citing locals as saying that besides hitting some 15 pine trees, only one elderly villager was hurt in the strike.
The following day, the two countries’ aircraft engaged in fierce aerial combat over Kashmir, with Pakistan claiming that it had downed two Indian warplanes over the LoC, and captured an Indian pilot, who was released a few days later.
New Delhi confirmed the detention of the pilot and the loss of only one of its aircraft, having, in turn, come up with a counter-claim that the IAF had shot down a Pakistan Air Force F-16.
In a bid to corroborate its arguments, the Indian military showcased fragments of an AMRAAM medium-range missile recovered in the Indian-administered part of Kashmir that is alleged to have been fired by the US-made fighter jet.
The Pakistani side has vehemently denied scrambling any F-16s for dogfights or sustaining any losses. Since then, the South Asian neighbours have been involved in sporadic fighting over the de facto border.