Mission Balakot: IAF pilots paced all night, smoked cigarettes in fear of PAF

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According to NDTV, Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots who were tasked to carry out strikes in Balakot were so terrified of the mission that they couldn’t sleep the night before. They paced a lot and smoked loads of cigarettes.

NDTV claims it spoke to the pilots who were part of the IAF squadron that was tasked to carry out strikes in Pakistan.

“We smoked a lot of cigarettes before the mission,” said a young Squadron Leader. “We kept pacing up and down once we knew what our mission was.”

According to the ISPR, Indian jets came into Pakistani airspace on February 26 and dropped their payload to flee once the PAF jets scrambled.

The next day, PAF fighter jets shot down two Indian F-16s and captured Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman.

“The entire operation took approximately two-and-a-half hours,” said another squadron leader while talking to NDTV.

The pilots claimed that they had launched five of the six Spice 2000 satellite-guided missile bombs at the alleged JeM facility. They said that they were unable to fire the Crystal Maze missile due to a low hanging cloud.

One of the pilots claimed that his jet had crossed 8 kilometers into Pakistani airspace to launch the strike. He said that the squadron was concerned about a PAF response.

Though the two pilots NDTV spoke to did not pick up a Pakistani interceptor on their radars, they were alerted to the presence of at least one Pakistani jet flying towards the Indian formation by the airborne warning aircraft coordinating the IAF’s attack.

India claims (despite evidence to the contrary) that it launched air strikes in Balakot at a Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) terrorist facility, resulting in the deaths of 600 militants.

Pakistan rejected Indian claims and even invited foreign journalists and diplomats to the site in Balakot where the alleged strike took place.

The pilots said that once they returned to their base in India, they still couldn’t get over the shock and stress of the mission.

“We smoked some more cigarettes,” they said and smiled.

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