It been two years since the Pulwama terror attack took place when 40 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) lost their lives after a suicide bomber rammed an IED-laden vehicle into the security convoy carrying them. The Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish had claimed responsibility for the Pulwama terror attack after repeated denials from Pakistan.
On 14th Feb 2019, when the news of the Pulwama attack broke out, massive anger erupted among Indian citizens because it was the third time in over 3 years when an attack had been carried out against Indian security forces from across the border.
On big question which was in everyone’s mind was ‘What next?’. When the Uri attack took place in 2016 & 19 soldiers of the Indian Army were brutally killed by terrorists from across the border, the Indian Army carried out surgical strikes against terror camps that were operating out of POK. That move may have given a hard blow to the terrorists, but it did not stop Pakistan from sending terrorists across the border.
This time, it was not just about taking revenge but making sure that this form of attack never took place again. A strong wave of nationalism among Indian citizens put a lot of pressure on the government to take a hard stance against Pakistan & send a strong message that the cost of asymmetric warfare with India would be a lot more than what Pakistan’s military leadership might have assumed.
And then the day came, 26th Feb 2019, IAF Mirage-2000 Jets in the early morning crossed the international border and dropped SPICE 2000 & Popeye precision-guided munitions at a Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp situated at Balakot town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
This was the first time that India had crossed IB using IAF since the 1971 war. This showed the world that a new India had awakened & this India knew how to take the fight back to the enemy territory.
This action prompted Pakistan to retaliate immediately after the damage assessment was done by Pakistan's ground forces. Similarly, the next morning, PAF F-16s crossed LOC & entered Indian Airspace to drop guided ammunition at Indian military oil reserves as reported by many defense sources.
However, things went off-plan for both sides. When PAF jets entered Indian airspace, the PAF AEWCS were able to detect incoming SU-30Mki aircraft of the IAF, however, PAF failed to detect Mig-21Bison aircraft which were coming their way. PAF’s Plan was to carry out a similar ground attack like IAF without engaging the enemy air force, but a dogfight ensued between PAF F-16s and IAF SU-30s & Mig-21s.
As events unfolded, a Mig-21bison flown by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman crossed the LOC in Pursuit of a Pakistani F-16 jet & was shot down by another PAF fighter jet.
Hours after Abhinandan was captured by Pakistani forces, he was immediately returned to India as Pakistan received immense pressure from the international community due to obligations made under the Geneva convention. & as well as immense diplomatic efforts by the Indian government.
In conclusion, It has to be noted that India achieved its main objective which was to avenge Indian Soldiers who were KIA in the Pulwama attack as well as change the status quo with Pakistan, Moreover, India also showed its diplomatic outreach to Pakistan by bringing Abhinandan back within few hours of his capture.
However, It must not be forgotten that there were certain deficiencies in our system which were exposed as well as exploited by Pakistan. After 2 years, we are facing a much serious problem with our northern neighbor & this time our adversary is militarily superior to us. We can face multiple external threats simultaneously if we stand together as a country and internal conflicts are handled wisely.