New Delhi [India], Feb 27 (ANI): Air Marshal (Retd) C Hari Kumar, who was heading the Indian Air Force's Western Command during Balakot airstrike last year, has termed the Pakistani claims of shooting a Su-30 during the aerial skirmish on February 27 last year as "their imagination."
The former IAF officer told ANI that "it is their imagination" if Pakistan claims to have shot a Su-30.
Talking about the Balakot terror training camp, he said: "We had very good intelligence inputs. I can't put a figure but taking around 500-600 people (in the Balakot camp) is a good guess. If you look at Balakot, since that, we are almost a year down the line, we have not had a major terror attack."
"The message is also clear the use of the Air Force is not escalatory. The government has the will and wherewithal to take action as quickly. Next time it happens, we will hit them even harder," he said.
The retired IAF officer said the PAF had started activating itself on February 14 itself, the day when Pulwama terror attack took place.
"On February 27... In the morning at 0942, our radars picked up a lot of increased air activity across Pakistan. But we also have to understand that most of the flying that they do from their bases is towards the east. So it is a regular air activity. In fact, it was by day. They showed themselves. It is just that they got airborne in all the airbases, they regrouped and turned around the east," he said while talking about Pakistan's so-called Operation Swift Retort.
"It's not that we did not have adequate Combat Air Patrol (CAP). We had two sets of Su-30 CAPs next to Srinagar, two Mirage upgrade aircraft close to Udhampur and we had Operational Readiness Platforms (ORPs) all along. The moment it hit, two (MiG-21) bisons scrambled from Srinagar, MiG-29UPG scrambled from Udhampur, we had scrambles all along," said the former IAF officer.
"It is just that he had used the time frame and moved in with large numbers. They never crossed IB nor the LOC. We could tackle them well. They dropped 11 bombs but none of them hit the target," he said.
The former Air Marshal recalled that when they came in, there were enough counter by which they could not follow through.
"They did not succeed in hitting anything but they dropped so many weapons. They had the AMRAAMs. At that moment, he had the advantage of the first shot," he said. (ANI)