Speaking at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras on Wednesday, Simhakutty Varthaman, Abhinandan’s father and an Indian air marshal (retd) has said that Pakistan’s F-16 and its AMRAAM missiles are a “real threat” to India.
Indian media reported that the ex-military official further stated, India had set seven aircraft towards Bahawalpur, which he claimed was the ‘headquarters’ of Jaish-e Mohammad, adding that Pakistan thought we were on the way to attack Bahawalpur and sent F-16s in order to engage with Indian fighter aircraft.
He added that Pakistan was in a total state of alert, they knew an attack from India was imminent and it could be planned anytime. However, the Indian air force could not succeed to achieve the target, he exclaimed.
Varthaman added: “We had to first get F-16s off our back by making sure they were headed to some other direction when we were going to Balakot”.
Indian media cited Varthaman as saying that the Balakot strike was the first time that IAF aircraft had crossed the Line of Control since the 1971 war with Pakistan.
He repeated the claim that the laser-guided smart bombs used to attack a suspected camp at Balakot could have killed hundreds of militants.