News agency ANI quoting Indian Air Force sources claimed Mirage 2000 fighters of the Indian Air Force struck and destroyed a “major terrorist camp” across the Line of Control early on Tuesday. The report comes hours after Pakistan claimed Indian Air Force jets had crossed the Line of Control, following which Pakistani fighters were scrambled.
The air strike mark a major escalation in tension with Pakistan, which has been high since the suicide bomb attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama on February 14 left over 40 jawans dead.
ANI, quoting IAF sources, said the attack occurred around 3.30am on Tuesday and the Mirage 2000s “completely” destroyed the terrorist camp. The agency added the Mirage 2000 fighters used 1,000kg bombs against the target and as many as 12 Mirage 2000 fighters were used.
Military aviation watchers on Twitter claimed the 'Netra' airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft was airborne over North India during the purported strike and could have been used for coordinating the Mirage 2000 fighters. The Netra, which is indigenously developed, is equipped with an advanced radar and control systems for coordinating aerial combat.
A report by News18 said a camp operated by Jaish-e-Mohammed, which claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack, was targeted by the Indian Air Force.
The Indian government has yet to issue an official statement on the air strike. The strike, if confirmed, marks the first overt use of the Indian Air Force across the Line of Control in several years. Even during the Kargil War of 1999, the Indian Air Force struck targets on the Indian side of the Line of Control.
The public relations arm of the Pakistani military, on its official Twitter handle, published images of the “payload” of the Indian fighters that it claimed was dropped “in haste” over Balakot.