03:30 GMT27 July 2021
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): The two arch-rival nations were at the brink of war on 26-27 February 2019 when India launched an airstrike in Pakistan’s Balakot region to destroy a suspected Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorist base. Pakistan shot down India’s MiG-21 in a dogfight and India claims to have shot down Pakistan’s F-16 which Islamabad denies.

    The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) celebrated the first anniversary of ‘Operation Swift Retort’ on Thursday at the Air Headquarters in Islamabad. The PAF marked the anniversary of the operation on 27 February to celebrate the taking of two Indian fighter jets which India denies.

    Addressing the event, Air Chief Air Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan said: “On 27 February 2019, we showed our capability and exercised restraint, however, if we are challenged again, we may not exercise restraint.”

    He further called it a “resounding victory” and said that the swift action and a “surprising response by the PAF busted the aggressor’s arrogance.”

    The PAF’s JF-17 Thunder and F-16 fighter warplanes participated in a flyby and an air show at the ceremony.

    Pakistan celebrated it as “Surprise Day” to pay tribute to the retaliatory attack by the PAF in response to the Indian Air Force airstrike in Balakot last year.

    Meanwhile, India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Sigh congratulated the Indian Air Force on their successful counter operation launched to eliminate terrorists on the first anniversary of the Balakot airstrike. He hailed the Air Force for the “unmatched bravery and courage it exhibited during the Balakot airstrikes”.

    The airstrike by India remains a controversial subject as India maintains that its fighter jets were able to eliminate alleged terror training camps in Balakot. Pakistan had rejected the claim and invited international dignitaries and media to visit the airstrike site.

    The Indian Air Force entered the Pakistani town of Balakot in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on 26 February 2019 with its warplanes to attack an alleged Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorist training camp. The airstrike was followed by a dogfight the next day in which India shot down Pakistan’s F-16, and India lost a MiG-21.

    The airstrike by India was in retaliation for the suicide attack on Indian troops in Pulwama on 14 February. JeM reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack on the convoy that killed 40 soldiers.


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    A Year After Balakot: Defence Minister Says India Won't Hesitate to Cross Border to Curb Terrorism
    MiG-21, F-16, airshow, India, Indians, Pakistan, airstrike, Pakistan Air Force, Indian Air Force
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