Surgical Strikes 2: Meet Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, the man of the hour

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New Delhi | Updated: February 27, 2019 7:03:16 AM

The Indian Air Force destroyed terror camps of Jaish-e-Mohammad in a pre-dawn precision strike across the Line of Control.

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Exactly 13 days after 40 Central Reserve Police Force men were killed in a dastardly terror attack carried out by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama, the Indian Air Force demolished terror camps of the group in pre-dawn precision strike across the Line of Control. The Indian Air Force’s Mirage 2000 fighter jets destroyed multiple camps of Jaish-e-Mohammad, the government confirmed.

“India struck biggest training camp of Jaish in Balakot, large number of terrorists eliminated,” Foreign secretary VK Gokhale said. Gokhale added, “Camp was led by Maulana Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghauri, brother in law of JeM Chief Masood Azhar.”

As per IAF sources, quoted by ANI, nearly 12 Mirage 2000 fighter jets of the Indian Air Force were involved in the operation. Reports say that 1,000 kgs bombs were airdropped on terror camps across the Line of Control (LoC).

The strikes were conducted under the supervision of Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa.

A Kargil war veteran, Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa PVSM AVSM YSM VM ADC was appointed as the Chief of the Air Staff beginning January 2017, taking over from Arup Raha as the 25th chief of the IAF since independence.

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The Air Chief Marshal’s father too served the country. Sarayan Singh Dhanoa served as the deputy commissioner in Ranchi in the 1960s.

Dhanoa was born to a family of war veterans on September 7, 1957 at SAS Nagar in Punjab. His grandfather Captain Sant Singh had fought World War II against the Japanese and also served as the sarpanch of village Gharuan, a report in The Tribune said. His father Sarayan Singh Dhanoa served as the Chief Secretary to the Punjab Government during the 1980s and also served as adviser for the state governor.

Dhanoa is an alumnus of the Rashtriya Indian Military College, the National Defence Academy and the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington. With a stellar record of flight safety throughout his career as a field commander, BS Dhanoa has flown various kinds of fighter aircraft that include HJT-16 Kiran, MiG-21, SEPECAT Jaguar, MiG-29 and Su-30MKI.

READ ALSO | IAF destroys Pakistan terror camps LIVE: Surgical strikes 2.0? 12 Mirage 2000 jets take part in operation

Kargil Hero

Dhanoa was commissioned into the Indian Air Force in June 1978 as a fighter pilot. He particpated actively in Operation Vijay of the 1999 Kargil War and was the commanding officer of a front line ground attack fighter squadron and flew numerous night strike missions to oust the enemy from their ‘dug in’ defences in the shivering heights of the Kargil region.

During the operation, his squadron came up with noval methods of bombing in the night time at altitudes which were never before attempted in the history of Air Warfare. Before the war, the squadron had been considered as the best fighter squadron of HQ WAC for its professionalism and peacetime training, however, impressively, it emerged as the most decorated IAF unit post the Kargil War.

The Air Chief Marshal has been awarded Vayu Sena Medal and the Yudh Seva Medal post war for his outstanding bravery and leadership during the Kargil conflict in 1999.

Dhanoa has also been awarded the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) in 2015 by the President of India. He was then appointed as Honorary ADC to the President of India in August 2015 and awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM) in the year 2016 by the President of India.
Dhanoa has also served as the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the South Western Air Command, before serving as the Vice Chief of the Air Staff, besides holding a number of illustrious staff appointments at Operational Commands, Air Headquarters and Joint Training Establishments.

He is married to Kamalpreet Kaur and they have a son Jasman who is a law graduate.

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