Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat apparently defended Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claim that cloud cover on the day of Balakot strike may have helped prevent IAF fighter jets from getting detected by Pakistani radars.

During an interaction with the media in Ezhimala on Sunday, the General said that there are some types of radar that cannot see through clouds because of their technology.

“There are various kinds of radars working with different technologies. Some have the capacity to see through, some don’t have the capacity to see through. Some kinds of radar cannot see through clouds because of the manner in which it is operating. Sometimes we can, sometimes we can’t,” Rawat said.

PM Modi had in a recent interview to a TV channel said that the weather was not good on the day of the strikes and there was some doubt on whether to carry out the attack. He said that he then suggested that clouds might help IAF fighter jets escape Pakistani radar.

“The weather suddenly turned bad, there were clouds… heavy rain. There was a doubt about whether we can go in the clouds. During a review (of the Balakot plan), by and large the opinion of experts was – what if we change the date. I had two issues in mind. One was secrecy… second, I said I am not someone who knows the science. I said there is so much cloud and rain. There is a benefit. I have a raw wisdom, the clouds can benefit us too. We can escape the radar. Everyone was confused. Ultimately I said there are clouds… let’s proceed,” he had said, while talking about the 26 February cross-border airstrike on terror camps in response to the Pulwama attack that claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel.

The PM’s comment was criticised and ridiculed by many. Memes taking a jibe at the PM were circulated on social media.

The Army chief said that the Balakot attack was to ensure that terrorists being trained across the border do not survive to carry out action against India.

He also said that government agencies are making coordinated efforts to tackle cross-border terrorism and ensure that financing and funds available to terrorists are cut off. The General said that the Army has brought the situation in Kashmir under control.

The Chief of Army Staff was in Ezhimala to review the passing-out parade of 264 trainees, comprising midshipmen and cadets of the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and 10 international cadets.

The cadets who passed out Saturday marked the culmination of their training at the Indian Naval Academy (INA). The parade also saw 15 female cadets marching shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts to join the ranks of the Indian Navy, a release issued by the Academy said.

There were 10 trainees from various friendly nations, including two each from Maldives, Myanmar and Seychelles, one from Tanzania and three from Sri Lanka.