New Delhi: Five pilots who flew Mirage-2000 fighter jets on the mission to bomb Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror camps at Balakot on 26 February are awarded the prestigious Vayu Sena Medals.
The fighter pilots will receive the gallantry medals on Independence Day. The pilots took part in the operation code named ‘Operation Bandar’ to bomb the terror camps of JeM deep inside Pakistani territory in Balakot.
Reports said that the Medals are awarded to Indian Air Force’s Wing Commander Amit Ranjan and Squadron Leaders Rahul Basoya, Pankaj Bhujade, BKN Reddy and Shashank Singh.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) had conducted an airstrike on terror camps operated by JeM terror outfit in retaliation to the Pulwama terrorist attack which martyred 40 Indian CRPF soldiers on 14 February.
In retaliation India struck in the wee hours of 26 February and destroyed the terror camps situated at Balakot. The Mirage-2000 fighter jets pierced the international boundary and dropped bombs deep inside Pakistani territory. It was the first time that IAF had conducted such a daring operation since the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
India maintains that it was pre-emptive strike against JeM after intelligence reports stated that the terror outfit was planning more attacks on Indian soil.
IAF used a total of five Spice 2000 precision bombs which are notorious for penetrating the roof and exploding inside the building killing the maximum number of people inside. It is believed that around 250 terrorists and their handlers perished during the air raid.
12 Mirage-2000 jets took part in the operation assisted by Mirage and Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighters.