The Pakistan Air Force failed to detect the presence of the Indian fighter jets as it was already too late for them as their surveillance system had been jammed by the IAF during its raid at Balakot militant camp early on Tuesday, sources said.
A “package” in military terms refers to grouping of various types of jets with different functions. A package typically consists of EW jets, the bombers and the protector jets that secure the bombers from enemy jets as bombers themselves are not in a position to effectively retaliate thanks to heavy payload.
A package usually consists of a minimum of 10-12 and maximum of 39-40 fighter jets, depending upon the requirements of the operation at hand.
In the Tuesday’s “non-military preemptive” strike, the IAF used 10-12 Mirage 2000 multi-role aircraft of which at least three were bombers.
In the Indian package, usually Su-30 and Mig 29 jets are used as protectors. But they were possibly not used in Tuesday’s opration as Mirage is a multirole aircraft that can act as a bomber, protector and an EW carrier.
The Mirage 2000 bombers used guided bombs with GPS coordinates fed into them to strike with precision and avoid any collateral damage.
The Mirage jets were chosen for the mission as this particular guided bomb system can be used with Mirage only, sources said.
Later, at an all-party meet in the national capital on Tuesday evening, the leaders cutting across party lines praised the Indian Air Force for its precision and professionalism as it hit the terrorist launch pad without incurring any loss to civilian life or hitting any Pakistani military target.
Sources in the Defence Ministry said that Pakistan has “very limited” options to retaliate short of inciting a fullfledged war which it can possibly not afford.
“Clearly, they cannot hit back in a similar way as they have no targets on our side of LoC. We don’t have any terror camps here which they can hit. If they hit an Indian military target, they would have no jus ad bellum (a set of criteria that are to be consulted before engaging in war in order to determine whether entering into war is permissible, that is, whether it is a just war). It would mean sparking a fullfledged war,” a senior official told IANS on condition of anonymity.
“Pakistan may resort to terror strikes, but in that case it cannot take the ownership. That means it cannot tell its people that it has done that. Also, it will again invoke a retaliatory action from India,” the official said.
“One of the achievements of this strike is, apart from destroying a terrorist launch pad and avenging Pulwama attack, India has driven home the point that it can act with ‘conventional’ means against subconventional warfare by Pakistan,” he added.
He said that at most Pakistan could perhaps scale up firing at Line of Control (LoC).
True to India’s asseasment, Pakistan on Tuesday evening resorted to heavy firing and shelling in Akhnoor, Nowshera and Krishna Ghati sectors along the LoC in ceasefire violation.