New Delhi, February 27: Anticipating a Pakistani retaliation to the Indian Air Force strikes in Balakot, the Indian Army, IAF and Navy are on the highest state of alert. While the IAF put its fighter jets on the operational readiness platform (ORP) at several bases to thwart any Pakistani intrusion, the Army moved some tanks and artillery closer to the border. On Tuesday, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan warned India of ‘strong response’.
The Indian Army has fortified its defences along the Line of Control (LoC), moving military equipment forward and enhanced its surveillance and intelligence gathering activities. “This is purely a precautionary measure to deal with new developments,” an Army official told Hindustan Times. The navy has also kept its warships ready to intercept intruding ships. PM Modi ‘Did Not Sleep Last Night’, Monitored IAF Strikes on JeM Camp Realtime: Report.
If Pakistan chooses to retaliate, the IAF is prepared to scramble its fighter jets from its forward bases at two minutes’ notice. The air force’s defence systems such the indigenous Akash, the Israeli Spyder, and Soviet-origin Pechora, OSA-AK and the shoulder-fired Igla are ready to tackle any aerial threats, an IAF official told a leading daily. Yesterday, a Pakistani drone was brought down across the border in Gujarat.
Twelve days after a suicide bombing by a JeM terrorist, the IAF crossed over the LoC and struck a terror camp in Balakot, killing “a very large number” of terrorists and their trainers. Pakistan admitted the IAF planes struck Balakot, but claimed they returned when it scrambled its warplanes and that there were no losses on the ground. The Pakistan army also threatened a “befitting response”.
A highest-level alert has been sounded in Delhi, Mumbai and five other cities for next 72 hours. Security has been increased at defence installations, Army camps and cantonment areas across north and west India. The Border Security Force (BSF) has been asked to intensify vigil along the line of control and the international border.