After the major hit by the Indian Air Force (IAF) on the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camps min Balakot, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has decided that it will increase the number of fighter planes near the border with India.
Confirming this, highly placed sources said the PAF is now coming up with a new squadron of F-16 fighter aircraft along the border with India, in Mushaf Air Base. The new squadron number 29 has been named ‘Aggressor’. The ‘Squadron 29’ is expected to have a total of 8 F-16 fighter planes, which can be used against India in case in any emergency.
The Mushaf Base is a Pakistan Air Force airbase at Sargodha in the Punjab province of Pakistan and it is the headquarters of the PAF Central Air Command. The base already has Squadron 9, equipped with F-16 fighter machines. By adding another Squadron of F-16s, sources said that Pakistan is sending signals that it is getting ready to take aggressive actions against India.
While Pakistan has just 30 squadrons, IAF as has been reported as having only 34 squadrons and is in the process of phasing out MiG-21 and MiG-27 in 2019-20, which will deplete the numbers down to 33. The IAF needs at least 42 squadrons in case of a two front war with Pakistan and China.
Fighter aircraft of India had carried out a major attack on the terror infrastructure on the Pakistan side which killed at least 300 terrorists undergoing training in those camps.
The strike carried out by the IAF included 12 French Mirage 2000 aircraft, supported by SU-30 MKI, MiG-29s from other bases to provide combat air patrol for the MiG-21 interceptors, a mid-air refueller, and two airborne warning and control systems, and their target was the JeM’s training camp on a hilltop in Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, about 80 km from the Line of Control (LoC).
The operation which had lasted for around 20 minutes and was carried out in response to the suicide bombing in which 40 troops of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama were killed. The JeM had claimed responsibility for the attack.
India’s retaliatory air strike was the first time since 1971 Indo-Pak war. It may be recalled that the during the Kargil war, extreme caution was taken to ensure that the IAF did not cross the LoC and hit the PAF which had crossed into the Indian territory.