Balakot airtrikes were major shift in govt’s handling of terror: IAF chief

IAF chief R K S Bhadauria with former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar at Hindon Air Base. Army chief Bipin Rawat and Navy chief Karambir Singh were also present. (Express photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria on Tuesday said that the Balakot airstrikes were a “major shift” in the government’s way of handling terrorist attacks, adding that the Pulwama terror attack was a stark reminder of the threat to defence installations.

In a written note in a booklet as part of the 87th Air Force Day celebrations, Bhadauria said that the “strategic relevance of this (Balakot strike) is the resolve of the political leadership to punish the perpetrators of terrorism and the capability of the IAF to execute a strike inside Pakistan”. This, he wrote, “has been a major shift in the government’s way of handling terrorist attacks”.

Read | IAF Day: Squadrons that participated in Balakot air strike awarded citations

He said the present security environment in India’s neighbourhood is a serious cause of concern, and the Pulwama terror strike is a stark reminder of the persistent threat to defence installations. “We must always be ever ready to respond to any contingency,” Bhadauria, who took over as the Indian Air Force chief last week, noted.

Delivering a speech at the Hindon Air Base in Ghaziabad, Bhadauria acknowledged “the contributions of all personnel of commands, stations and units who silently and professionally contributed to…

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