Defence minister Rajnath Singh and Union home minister Amit Shah on Friday saluted the Indian Air Force (IAF) as the nation observed two years of the IAF’s strike on a Jaish-e- Mohammed (JeM) camp in Pakistan’s Balakot.
Two years ago on February 26, the Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted an airstrike in Balakot, Pakistan in response to the death of over 40 CRPF personnel on February 14, 2019, in a suicide terror attack conducted by Pakistan-based terror organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).
Defence minister Rajnath Singh tweeted, “On the anniversary of Balakot Air Strikes, I salute the exceptional courage and diligence of the Indian Air Force. The success of Balakot strikes has shown India’s strong will to act against terrorism. We are proud of our Armed Forces who keep India safe and secure. @IAF_MCC”
Meanwhile, Shah tweeted in Hindi, “On this very day in 2019, @IAF_MCC responded to the Pulwama terrorist attack, once again making clear New India’s policies against terrorism. I pay my respects to the Pulwama martyrs and salute the courage of the IAF. Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, the safety of our nation and soldiers is paramount”
Since then, a lot has changed for the IAF. The force has undertaken several reformative measures to bolster its operational capabilities. Since February 2019, India has acquired several fighter jets, assault weapons and missile systems.
The induction of Rafale aircraft was expedited post the Balakot strike. India received the first batch of five Rafale aircraft on July 29, 2020, which were, subsequently, inducted into the 17 ‘Golden Arrows’ Squadron on September 10 at the Ambala Air Base. The Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft has given a boost to IAF’s air dominance. The second batch of three Rafale combat aircraft arrived in India on November 4, 2020. Three more combat aircraft landed in India on January 27, taking the fleet size to 11.