Defence experts on Monday hailed the remark IAF chief BS Dhanoa's statement that they hit targets, and don't count bodies. Photo/ANI
Defence experts on Monday hailed the remark IAF chief BS Dhanoa's statement that they hit targets, and don't count bodies. Photo/ANI

Airstrike casualty count being discussed by those who know nothing about defence, say experts

ANI | Updated: Mar 04, 2019 21:40 IST

New Delhi [India], Mar 4 (ANI): Those who are discussing the casualty count of IAF’s strike at the biggest terror training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad at Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province have “little or no knowledge” of defence, said on Monday defence experts while talking to ANI.
They also backed Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa’s statement on the casualty count in the recently-conducted airstrike in Pakistan, where he said that they do not count the bodies, but hit the targets.
“Defence experts have been saying from day one that no can tell an exact count of the number of terrorists killed in air strike,” said defence expert V K Chaturvedi on Monday, while talking to ANI.   
“What we can say with confidence is that we have hit the target we wanted to. Such talks in the media or elsewhere about the total casualties being put at 250 or 350 are done by those who know little or nothing about defence,” he said.
BJP chief Amit Shah on Sunday, while addressing a rally in Ahmedabad, had claimed that 250 terrorists were killed in the air strike carried out by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in Pakistan’s Balakot, targeting terror launch pads in the region, during the wee hours of February 26.  
Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa said on Monday: “IAF is not in a position to clarify the number of casualties. The government will clarify that. We don’t count human casualties. We count what targets we have hit or not. We hit our target.”
Backing the IAF chief’s statement, Praful Bakshi, also defence expert, told ANI: “Nothing could be truer than what the Air Chief Marshal has said. The job of the Air Force and the Army is exclusively to eliminate the enemy, and not answer such questions.”
Uday Bhaskar, another prominent defence expert, was of the view that domestic political deliberation on the issue was ‘undesirable.’
“We have had a mini domestic debate about whether or not the target had been acquired, what was the damage, and the figure of 300 terrorists having been eliminated or neutralised have been doing the rounds in public perception,”  Bhaskar told ANI.
“Perhaps some media outlets have also given some credence to this. It is in this context that we have also had a domestic political deliberation on this issue, which, as I have said earlier, is undesirable,” he said.
Acknowledging that questions regarding details of the strike do arise in a democracy, Bhaskar noted that there is a way for parliamentarians to raise these questions.
“At a point like this, these kinds of questions can be raised. Democracies should have the debate. They should have dissent, but there is a parliament,” he said.
“There is a way for parliamentarians to raise these questions related any wing of the government--whether it is the Defence Minister, or if need be, the Prime Minister, and get whatever information they are seeking,” added Bhaskar.
India carried out the air strike 12 days after JeM suicide bomber attacked the convoy of CRPF in Pulwama on February 26 in which as many as 40 CRPF personnel lost their lives.
Hours after the air raid, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale had told the media that the IAF fighter planes hit the largest militant camp of JeM at Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. (ANI)