Two Indian pilots part of the team that carried out an air strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Pakistan's Balakot on Monday said that the strike was over within 90 seconds and the mission was carried out with such secrecy that not even close family members of the assault team knew about the developments.
"It was over in 90 seconds; we released the weapon and we turned back," said one of the Mirage 2000 fighter pilots in the first such account of the Indian airstrike.
"No one, not even my close family knew," the IAF pilot said, asking not to be named.
"Next day, when news broke, my wife asked me whether I was part of the attack. I kept quiet and slept off," he added.
"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.
Speaking on Monday about the IAF air assault, another squadron leader detailed the clandestine operation, said, "We flew a lot of Combat Air Patrols (CAP) mostly along Line of Control (LoC)."
It may be mentioned here that the Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter planes destroyed the JeM camp in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's province in Balakot after entering Pakistani airspace for the first time in 48 years following a suicide bombing claimed by the terror group that killed 40 troopers of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama on February 14.
The Pulwama attack led to an escalation in tensions between India and Pakistan and pushed the two countries to the brink of war as the IAF strike was followed by engagement by Pakistani combat jets near the Line of Control (LoC) on February 27.