Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa.

IAF Doesn’t Calculate Casualties: Air Chief Marshal on Balakot

For the first time after the aerial strikes by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in Pakistan’s Balakot, Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa addressed the media in Coimbatore.

On Monday, 4 March, Dhanoa said that the IAF had conducted “successful raids”, however he refused to comment on the number of casualties inflicted, calling it “the government’s prerogative.”

The IAF is not in a postilion to clarify the number of casualties, he said.

“The government will clarify that. We don't count human casualties, we count what targets we have hit or not,” he said.

On being asked about the current situation at the border, Dhanoa said, “It is an ongoing operation, I will not comment on that.”

“The target has been clearly amplified by FS in his statement. If we plan to hit the target, we hit the target, otherwise why would he (Pak PM) have responded, if we dropped bombs in the jungles why would he respond,” he added.

Dhanoa’s remarks come amid a lack of clarity on the exact details of the strike. The government has refused to comment on the details of the attack – on JeM’s biggest training camp in Balakot on 26 February.

ON MIG-21 BISON’S CAPABILITY

Speaking on the capability of the MiG-21 Bison, that was used in the air strike, he said that the MiG-21 used in the dog fight with Pakistan’s F-16 was an upgraded aircraft with an advanced weapons system.

“It has been upgraded, it has better radar, air-to air missiles and better weapons system,” he said.

When an adversary strikes, he added, every available aircraft goes in, irrespective of which aircraft it is. “All aircraft are capable of fighting the enemy," Dhanoa added.

ON ABHINANDAN’S RETURN TO SERVICE

Responding to a question on Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s return to service, he said:

“Whether he (Abhinandan) flies or not depends on his medical fitness. That’s why post ejection, he has undergone a medical check. Whatever treatment is required, will be given. Once we get his medical fitness, he will get into a fighter’s cockpit.”

We don't take chances with medical fitness of a pilot, he added.

(With inputs from PTI, ANI)