Former IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal S K Sareen
Former IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal S K Sareen

Air strike: IAF met targets given to it

ANI | Updated: Mar 02, 2019 18:44 IST

New Delhi, Mar 2 (ANI) Hailing the strike at the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) camp in Pakistan, former IAF chief Air Chief Marshal (retd) S K Sareen on Saturday said the targets had been clearly hit by the Indian jets and it was immaterial to debate as to how many buildings were brought down.
He also described as a “joke” a proposal floated in Pakistan that its Prime Minister Imran Khan should be given the Nobel Peace Price and said the entire world knows how Pakistan is harbouring at least 20 terror groups.
Sareen, who was the Chief of Air Staff between 1995 and 1998, told ANI that it should not bother anyone whether four buildings were hit or in the air raids by Indian jets at JeM camp in Balakot in Pakistan on February 26 as the IAF had done what it was tasked to do.
“We should not count how many buildings were brought down. Their own information is that 50 terrorists were killed. We know 200-300 terrorists were killed,” he said, seeking to downplay a debate on whether Indian jets actually caused any significant damage.
When referred to the remarks by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi that he knows JeM chief Masood Azhar is in Pakistan and that he was in touch with him, Sareen said he has spoken the truth unlike most of his compatriots.
The former IAF chief expressed happiness over the return of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman yesterday from Pakistan after being in captivity of Pakistan army, saying, “we (defence forces) know what it means” coming back from the enemy territory as “others don’t go there”.
He termed as a “fake” a video about Varthaman in which it is claimed that he praised the Pakistan Army.
“The video was fake... There was no close up... Pakistan believes in fake news,” he said and pointed out how Pakistani Army initially claimed that it had two Indian pilots in its custody while the truth was that only one was Indian.
The former IAF Chief also said that India should have offered condolences to Pakistan “if we found out that their pilot also was killed” on February 27 during the air combat with Indian jets.
When his attention was drawn to the reports that JeM chief Masood Azhar was going to write a book, Sareen said, “Why do we give unnecessary importance (to what he writes or not)? If these terrorist groups write books, we should not pay attention. They are not statesmen.”
Describing Azhar as “our enemy”, he said, “We know what kind of a person he is. He was in jail earlier (in India). Now he has 10,000 terrorists under him.”
Sareen also endorsed the central government’s decision to ban Jamaat-e-Islami of Jammu and Kashmir and said similar actions, like choking funds, should be taken against leaders of all separatist groups.
Regarding former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti criticising the ban on Jamaat-e-Islami, he said she is “keen to create problems” as she has always been “pro-Pakistan” and has never taken any step to show that she is pro-India. (ANI)