IAF admits Feb blunder

NEW DELHI: Indian forces appear to have had a panic attack on February 27 when Pakistani warplanes mounted a bold punitive assault in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) to avenge a botched airstrike attempt by Indian jets a day earlier.
Pakistan Air Force (PAF) jets flew into IOK in broad daylight, locked Indian military targets and then deliberately fired their munitions at a distance to send across a message that they could hit any target anytime and anywhere in India. Indian jets chased the PAF aircraft but were engaged and two of them were downed in ensuing dogfights. One of the pilots – Abhinandan Varthaman – who ejected and landed in Azad Jammu and Kashmir was also arrested only to be released later as a goodwill
gesture. In an attempt to
hide its embarrassment, Indian Air Force (IAF) claimed that Abhinandanhad shot down a PAF F-16 fighter before his MiG-21 was shot, though it had literally no evidence to substantiate its claim. Turns out that PAF’s February 27 reprisal was a real surprise for Indian forces as they not only lost two fighter jets in dogfights but also shot one of their own military helicopters in panic over Budgam area of IOK. Six Indian servicemen were killed in the incident. Initially, India was reluctant to admit its mistake but later ordered an inquiry into the incident. And on Friday, IAF chief Rakesh Kumar Bhadauria admitted that the Mi-17 chopper crash was a ‘big mistake’ on the part of his force, according to India Today news magazine. “Court of Inquiry has completed and it was our mistake as our missile had hit our own chopper. We will take action against the two officers. We accept this was our big mistake and we will ensure such mistakes are not repeated in the future,” Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria told the media. “Rafale and S-400 Air Defence missile system will further bolster the capability of the Indian Air Force,” Bhadauria said while referring to the French jets and Russian air defence system that India is acquiring. The entire Indian narrative on the February 26 and 27 events is rigged with baseless claims. IAF claimed that its jets had hit a supposed training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad militant group in Balakot area of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, killing hundreds of terrorists – including some senior commanders.–Agencies