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Pakistan marks four years since Operation Swift Retort

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Pakistan will mark the fourth anniversary of Operation Swift Retort on Monday (today).
On Feb 27, 2019, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) shot down two Indian planes violating Pakistani airspace. One of the Indian pilots was captured by Pakistan but was later handed over to New Delhi as a gesture of peace.
The botched attempt to strike deep inside Pakistan following a false-flag operation at Pulwama on Feb 14, 2019, established the military and technological superiority of the PAF and shattered to pieces the myth of Indian military might.
On Feb 14 2019, a young Kashmiri boy, resenting Indian oppression of Kashmiri people, drove a vehicle packed with explosives into a convoy of 78 buses carrying Indian paramilitary police in Pulwama, killing 40 CRPF personnel.
Moments after the attack, the Indian media and government immediately blamed Pakistan before even the start of any investigation.
The then Prime Minister Imran Khan promised to conduct an investigation, provided Delhi could provide any “actionable evidence”. He, however, also warned that Pakistan would “retaliate” if attacked. Nevertheless, the Indians opted to carry out an airstrike across the border on an imaginary terrorist training camp on the Pakistani side.
The Indian authorities code-named the attack on Balakot ‘Operation Bandar’ to minimise the chances of leaking the news. The word ‘Bandar’ was chosen because monkeys enjoy a sacred place in the Hindu religion. This refers to a tale in the religious myths of Hinduism where Hanuman – a deity who resembles the monkey – secretly entered Lanka and burned it to the ground.
The Indian Air Force launched an aerial strike near ‘Balakot’ On Feb 26, 2019, targeting a religious seminary that India described as a militant camp, claiming to have killed more than 300 terrorists but without sharing any evidence to corroborate the claims.
The well-rehearsed operation involving 20 Mirage 2000 aircraft carrying Spice 2000 and Crystal Maze missiles had the support of Air Borne Early Warning systems. They should have delivered their payload on the target despite practising on the simulator and pre-fed coordinates on the bombs.
However, the Indian aircraft dropped their payload near a hillside, killing one crow and damaging a few precious pine trees, which prompted Imran to repeatedly say that he was very hurt, as trees were very close to his heart.
The PAF launched a counter-strike on Feb 27, 2019, to demonstrate Pakistan’s resolve. The strike was carefully crafted to avoid casualties on the ground.
During the short aerial encounter that followed, the PAF shot down two IAF aircraft and captured one of the pilots. The debris of the SU-30 fell in IOK, and its pilot was killed, while the MiG-21 pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, whose aircraft was lost on the Pakistan side, was captured alive.

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