Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief BS Dhanoa on Monday stressed that Pakistani jets did not enter Indian airspace as they were intercepted by IAF fighters and pushed back following the Balakot strike.
Addressing media persons, the IAF Chief Marshal said that India’s objective was to strike terror camps while Pakistan’s was to target the Army bases.
He said the Indian Air Force was able to achieve its military objective, while Pakistan failed to do so.
Further on Islamabad closing its airspace, Dhanoa said it was a problem of the neighbouring country and did not affect India.
“Our economy is vibrant and air traffic is a very important part and you have noticed that Air Force has never stopped our civil air traffic,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
He further stressed that the IAF made it a point not to affect the civil aviation in the country despite tensions with Pakistan.
“Only on 27 February, we had stopped Srinagar airspace for 2-3 hours, rest of it, we didn’t allow tension with Pakistan to dictate our civil aviation because our economy is much bigger and much stronger as compared to theirs,” the IAF chief said.
Pakistan had fully closed its airspace on February 26 after an IAF strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Balakot. Since then, it has only opened two routes, both of them pass through southern Pakistan, of the total 11.
Earlier in March, Dhanoa had confirmed hitting the targets adding that the Indian Air Force does not calculate the number of the dead.
Relations between Pakistan and India hit a nadir in the last five years with at least three major terror attacks on Indian military establishment and personnel of armed forces since 2016.
Meanwhile, Dhanoa on Monday said that the AN-32 aircraft will continue to fly in the mountains as there was no other option.
His remarks come over two weeks after an AN-32 crashed in Arunachal Pradesh on June 3, killing all 13 people on board.