New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: India on Sunday observed the second anniversary of the deadly Pulwama attack that had claimed the lives of 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) bravehearts on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway in Jammu and Kashmir. The attack was carried out by a 22-year-old Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist Adil Ahmad Dar.

The Pulwama attack was condemned across the world, including Pakistan's 'all-weather ally' China that backed a UN resolution on the "heinous and cowardly" terror attack.

While people across India were grieving the loss of lives in the Pulwama attack, the tension between New Delhi and Islamabad flared up after intelligence agencies claimed that Pakistan's ISI supported the militants to carry out the attack.

Following the intelligence agencies' claim, Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a stern warning and said that those behind the dastardly attack will have to pay a "very heavy price".

Then on February 26, the Indian Air Force conducted an air strike across the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan's Balakot and destroyed Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp. The attack, which India's first air strike against Pakistan since 1971 war, was conducted by 12 Mirage 2000 and 10 Sukhio Su-30 MKIs fighter jets and reportedly killed 300 to 350 terrorists.

"In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were eliminated. This facility at Balakot was headed by Maulana Yousuf Azhar, the brother-in-law of Masood Azhar, Chief of JeM," the Indian government said in a statement.

The plan for the Balakot air strikes was laid out by the Indian Air Force, the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), Indian Army and intelligence agencies. The Indian agencies had identified several possible targets and selected Balakot's Jaba top for the attacks.

The Balakot air strikes flared tensions between India and Pakistan as the Pakistani Air Force tried to attack military installations in Jammu and Kashmir. However, the Indian Air Force foiled Pakistan's attempt to attack military installations.

Thanks to Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, the Indian Air Force also took down a PAF F-16. However, Wing Commander Varthaman's MiG-21 Bison was shot down by a Pakistani Surface-to-Air missile (SAM) and he was captured later. Pakistan, however, was forced to release Wing Commander Varthaman on March 1 amid international pressure.

Four days later, Pakistan arrested 44 members of various groups, including the Jaish-e-Muhammad, and held them responsible for the Pulwama attack.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma