Air Chief Marshall B.S. Dhanoa (PTI)
Air Chief Marshall B.S. Dhanoa (PTI)

Balakot air strike: IAF doesn't count the dead, says Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa

  • The casualty figure in the Balakot air strike will be given out by the government, says Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa
  • On Abhinandan Varthaman, Dhanoa says the wing commander would fly a fighter jet only if he was fit

Coimbatore: The casualty figure in the Balakot air strike, where the Indian Air Force targeted and destroyed a JeM camp in Pakistan last week, will be given out by the government, said Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa. The IAF does not count the dead, he added.

Addressing a press conference in Coimbatore, Dhanoa said the death toll in the Balakot air strike depends on the number of people present at the target.

The Rafale jet should come into India's inventory by September, the air chief marshal told reporters in his first comments since the 26 February Balakot air strike in Pakistan.

When an adversary attacks you, every aircraft is used, Dhanoa said, adding that the MiG 21 Bison fighter jet used in the dogfight with Pakistan is an upgraded aircraft with advanced weapons system.

Referring to Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was captured by Pakistan on 27 February as the India-Pakistan conflict escalated, Dhanoa said he can't comment on the politics but was happy the officer was back home.

"We don't take chances with the medical fitness of a pilot," he said, adding Abhinandan would fly a fighter jet if he was fit.

All required treatment will be given to Wing Commander Abhinandan, Dhanoa said.

Abhinandan was released by Pakistan on Friday.

The air force, Dhanoa said, has to get its act together and find out what caused the mid-air clash ahead of the opening of the Bengaluru air show on 19 February and helicopter crash in Kashmir last week.

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