Balakot anniversary: Pakistan takes a belligerent stand

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that Pakistan was a peace-loving nation but also mindful of its obligation of defence

Pakistani army, Balakot anniversary, Shabaz Khan, Imran Khan, Indian air force, Pulwama
Indian troops guarding the Line of Control | File photo

Pakistan’s civil and military leadership said on Monday that the Armed forces were ready to take the “fight back to the enemy” if a war was imposed on the “peace-loving nation”.

In a statement on the anniversary of an aerial skirmish between the air forces of India and Pakistan, the Pakistan army said that Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, three services chiefs and the armed forces “pay tribute to the resilience of the nation and resolve of armed forces displayed during Operation Swift Retort”, reports PTI.

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Pak army statement


“Let this day be a reminder that while being a peace-loving nation, Pakistan Armed Forces are ever ready, not only to defend every inch of motherland but to take the fight back to the enemy, if ever, aggression is imposed on us,” it said.

The Pakistan Army further stated: “Any delusion resulting into a misadventure will always be met with full might of Pak AFs backed by a resilient nation.”

Civil leadership joins chorus

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that Pakistan was a peace-loving nation but also mindful of its obligation of defence.

“Today the nation pays rich tribute to PAF for a befitting response to the Indian violation of Pakistan’s air space on the pretext of false flag Pulwama attack. While we aim for peace with all, we are mindful of our duty to defend the country. Let no one make any mistake about it, he said.

Imran Khan, who was the prime minister at the time of the incident, said that his “government ordered response to Indian air strike on Balakot with PAF air strikes on Indian military targets” and the PAF downed an IAF plane over Pakistan air space capturing an Indian pilot.

“We were successful in choosing a limited military response signalling a clear message to India,” he added.

The background

In the early hours of February 26, 2019, the Indian Air Force (IAF) jets bombed the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror camps in Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan and avenged the Pulwama terrorist attack that claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel.

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An intense aerial confrontation ensued between both countries the next day, in which the Indian pilot was captured and later released by Pakistan.

The strike by India’s warplanes on a JeM terrorist training camp in Balakot and the Pakistan Air Forces subsequent retaliation the next day triggered fears of a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

(With agency inputs)