Balakot Kill Count: IAF says it has “credible evidence”

Balakot Kill Count: IAF says it has “credible evidence”

India's Air Vice-Marshal R.G.K Kapoor speaks to the media in the lawns of India's Defence Ministry in New Delhi. Reuters photo

Indian Air Force on Thursday said that it has “fairly credible evidence” on the extent of damage its combat aircraft caused on the Jaish-e-Mohammed camp at Balakot in Pakistan, but it would be “premature” on the part of the force to give out figures on the number of terrorists killed in the action.

“We have credible evidence on the Balakot operations. It's up to the (central) government to decide on how to share the evidence,” Air Vice Marshal R G K Kapoor, Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Operations and Space) told the media here at an interaction.

Two days after IAF launched a blistering attack to destroy one of the biggest JeM camps in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, there are questions in certain quarters including opposition political leaders on whether the strike led to the killing of a large number of terrorists living in that camp.

Asked about damage assessment, Kapoor said, “We have fairly credible evidence on the damage. Our weapons hit the target. But it would be premature for us to comment on the kind of damage inflicted on the terrorists and the number of people killed. Whatever we intended to destroy, we destroyed.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs too did not give out any figures on the number of terrorists killed.

“In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were eliminated,” Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said in his statement on Tuesday.

Defence Ministry sources told DH that it might take months and intelligence inputs from several agencies to assess the extent of damage inflicted on the Balakot camp. The same process was followed in the case of 2016 surgical strike in the wake of the terrorists attack on Army brigade headquarters at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday asked whether anyone died at the air operation in Pakistan.