Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said the Balakot air strikes had sent out the clear message that infrastructure across the border could not be used as safe havens for terrorists.
Addressing a seminar on ‘Air Power in No War, No Peace Scenario’, Rajnath Singh hailed the 40 CRPF martyrs of the Pulwama terror attack and saluted the soldiers who carried out the Balakot air strikes.
“If we’ve to be prepared for the tasks assigned to us, then it’s important we maintain credible deterrence at land, air and sea at all times,” he said at the Centre for Air Power Studies here.
Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and Indian Air Force chief R K Bhadauria also spoke at the event.
Rawat said the clear message from the Balakot strikes was that the kind of “proxy war” perpetrated on India “will not be tolerated”. IAF Chief R K S Bhadauria highlighted the need for new indigenous technology in warfare and urged DRDO to develop such weapons.
“The Balakot air strikes conveyed India’s clear message that infrastructure across the border won’t be a safe haven for terrorists,” the Defence minister said.
“For Pakistan, employment of terrorism against India is a low cost option. We have taught a lesson to Pakistan on this. Through Balakot, we have indicated that terrorist camps across Line of Control are no longer secure place for terrorists,” Rajnath Singh added.
On February 26 last year, Indian Air Force jets crossed over to Pakistan and attacked a Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp in Balakot. The strike followed 12 days after the February 14 terror attack in Pulwama that killed 40 CRPF personnel in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir.
Rajnath Singh said the security scenario had changed in the last few years and incidents of cross border terrorism are examples of the new warfare that has forced the rewriting of doctrines across the border.
“The security scenario has completely changed in the last few years. Kargil and incidents of cross border terrorism are examples of new kind of warfare. Hybrid warfare is the reality of present day. There is no clear beginning and end in this changing scenario of conflict,” he said.
Addressing the gathering, Rawat highlighted the significance of “credible deterrence” in warfare.
“If we’ve to be prepared for the tasks assigned to us then it’s important we maintain credible deterrence at land, air and sea at all times.
“Deterrence comes from keeping every personnel trained and motivated. he credible deterrence comes from the will of the military leadership and intent of political leadership while taking the tough decision. This was amply shown after Kargil, Uri attacks and Pulwama attack,” he said.
“We had an edge over Pakistan Air Force in terms of Beyond Visual Range Missile capability at the time of Kargil. We allowed that to slip and thereafter it took a decade and half in our struggle to acquisition process to be able to get better capability,” the Air Force chief said in his speech.
This would soon materialise with the induction of the Rafale, he said.
“In air engagement, especially in a deeply contested area, it is important to to have a weapons edge. Once we retain this edge,it is important that we don’t allow to slip back this edge,” he added.
Hailing the government’s decision to carry out the Balakot strikes, Bhadauria said it was a “tough and bold decision to strike at the heart of terrorist training camps deep inside Pakistan across the Line of Control”.
“IAF successfully struck the target chosen. Pakistan Air Force responded 30 hours later with a large package of aircraft under Operation Swift Retort. IAF ensured they weren’t able to hit targets. They were in a hurry to disengage.They were doing it for their domestic audience,” he said.