‘Air Strike Correct Step, Armed Forces Ready To Combat Any Retaliation’

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Kolkata: Former Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief Arup Raha on Wednesday termed the IAF strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) training camp in Balakot in Pakistan as a “correct step” against the repeated terror strikes on Indian soil and said the country’s armed forces were prepared to tackle any retaliation from across the border.

Noting that the air strike in the wee hours of Tuesday was “one step ahead in the escalation metrics”, Air Chief Marshal (retd) Raha claimed that it was a “necessary retaliation” because the situation demanded it.

“The repeated terror attacks on Indian soil were impacting India’s image. So the retaliation was very necessary. Otherwise they would have thought India is a weak nation. So the air strike was the correct step,” Raha said.

“Escalation of tension was expected. After India conducted the air strike to destroy terrorist camps deep inside the Pakistan territory, it was expected that there would be some reactions (from Pakistan’s end). The Indian Army and IAF are fully prepared to tackle such fall outs. We are ready to meet the challenges,” he said.

Responding to reports that a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) F-16 fighter jet was shot down after it intruded into the Indian air space on Wednesday, Raha said, “If there is any retaliation from their end, our armed forces will counter it with full capacity like it has been doing so far. An F-16 fighter jet of Pakistan has been shot down.”

Expressing his happiness with IAF’s success in conducting the raid across the Line of Control, he said it is more satisfactory that nations across the world are now looking for a solution to the ongoing dispute which resulted in several militant attacks on the Indian soil.

“I am happy that the entire world is waiting to watch what measures are taken to neutralise the terror organisations that are operating across India’s western border,” Raha said.

“They (Pakistan) are very vengeful so they would try to react. But they will eventually cool down as they are under a lot of pressure from the international community. They need to take action against the terrorist groups, that is what the people of India want,” Raha said.