The Indian Airforce's deadliest operation against terrorists in Balakot, Pakistan, was "over within 90 seconds," one of the pilots who took part in the operations has reportedly said. The secrecy of the covert strikes was maintained to such an extent that even the close family members were not told about the operation. Mirage-2000 aircraft of the Indian Airforce (IAF) carried out precision strikes and destroyed the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) camp in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's province after the terrorist group claimed the responsibility of killing 40 CRPF jawans in Pulwama on February 14, 2019.
Hindustan Times reported that even the wives of the pilots involved in the operations were unaware. One of the pilots said: "It was over in 90 seconds; we released the weapon and we turned back. No one, not even my close family knew." He further added "Next day, when news broke, my wife asked me whether I was part of the attack. I kept quiet and slept off."
Giving further details of the operation, another IAF pilot said: "We flew a lot of Combat Air Patrols (CAP) mostly along Line of Control (LoC)."
Notably, this was a ploy to engage Pakistan's air defences while flying numerous CAPs along the LoC. Just when Pakistan's air defence systems were looking for any attack from Indian CAPs, Mirage-2000 jets carried out one of the most courageous strikes. The pilot also said that he got an indication just before 48 hours when the IAF has increased the number of sorties.
"We knew something was happening, but no one had a clear picture. The number of sorties had increased manifold. Many of us were flying multiple sorties," the second pilot said who is serving as Squadron leader in IAF.
He further added: "While previous CAPs and sorties were without weapons, on [February] 25 at about 4 pm, the Spice-2000 [missiles] was loaded on to the Mirage 2000s. The specific coordinates of the terror training camp were fed into the weapon systems. We took off at 2 am that night."
Sukhoi-30s were put on standby to engage with enemy aircraft in case the Mirages were intercepted by Pakistan Airforce (PAF). The senior officials of IAF worked as per their daily schedule to avoid any tip-off about the attack. The IAF aircraft moved towards eastern part then took a longer route and to the complete success of the operation, they were not intercepted either by enemy batteries or the aircraft.