Exactly a year ago, the Mirage-2000 aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crossed the Line of Control and wreaked havoc at the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) training camps in Balakot, Pakistan. Soon after misinformation took over social media and actual damage due to the bombings of terror camps never came in the public domain.
Opposition questions authenticity of damage inflicted by IAF
Although the government never gave an official figure on the number of terrorists killed in the operations, the so-called 'sources' claimed that it was somewhere around 300. The opposition parties including Congress and Aam Aadmi Party questioned the authenticity of the damage inflicted by the IAF.
Now, the IAF has updated the firing protocols for the air-to-surface Israeli missile, Crystal Maze to ensure that Balakot-style op isn't questioned again. According to the new rules, all future operations similar to that of Balakot will now have a video feed of the attack for military personnel to get real-time information. As per a report in the Print, the information will also be helpful in analyzing the hit in the later stages.
IAF had used Spice 2000 during the strike which does not have a camera and the rules at that time did not allow the pilots to use these missiles together. Notably, the Crystal maze is loaded with a camera that opens up as it nears the target, gives a playback of hitting the target. The missile has an effective range of 80-100 km and can also be navigated further through a cursor by the operator who can actually pinpoint it to the centre of the target.
One of the sources said, "The Balakot strike was meant to send a message to the enemy and the enemy has heard it loud and clear. No matter what they say, the military bosses in Pakistan know what happened." The lack of video feed witnessed intense political slugfest and assisted the Pakistan military's publicity wing, Inter-Services Public Relations, to launch a propaganda war.
Operation Balakot: IAF's most daring operation
In response to the deadly attack on CRPF convoy on 14th February 2019, the Indian Air Force (IAF) in the wee hours of February 26, struck Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) training camps in Balakot in Pakistan's Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. Pakistan retaliated with sending its US-made F-16s across LOC, targeting India's military establishment. MiG-21 aircraft of the Indian Air Force were sent to engage with comparatively advanced F-16s. MiG-21 of the IAF even managed to bring down one F-16 of Pakistani Air Force, before being shot down.