Alarm bells are supposedly ringing in Pakistan after the induction of the new Rafale fighter jets and the Indian Air Force (IAF) ramping its border preparedness.
According to the local media reports, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fighter jets participated in a tactical landing exercise on the Islamabad-Lahore motorway on Wednesday as ‘contingency planning’
PAF aircraft landed on Islamabad Lahore motorway for Road Runway operations today. Mr Murad Saeed, Federal Minister for Comm & Postal Services was the Chief Guest at the occasion. pic.twitter.com/Wwl0fHMMZd
— DGPR (AIR FORCE) (@DGPR_PAF) October 7, 2020
Several fighter jets from various squadrons participated in the exercise. Pictures of the PAF fighter jets landing were shared on social media. After the landing, the fighter jets were refuelled before taking off for their respective bases.
“PAF regularly undertakes road runway operations as part of its operational preparedness plan. Air Vice-Marshal Zaffar Aslam acknowledged the close coordination and support of various civil and military departments especially National Highway Authority, FWO and Motorway Police, whose assistance played an instrumental role in the conduct of this exercise,” said the PAF in a statement.
Federal Minister for Communications and Postal Services Murad Saeed was the chief guest on the occasion who was received at the venue by Air Vice Marshal Zaffar Aslam, Air Officer Commanding, Central Air Command, reported Dawn.
The minister interacted with the crew and said that PAF is respected for its professionalism and is a true symbol of pride for the nation. He also lauded the PAF officers “for living up to the expectation of the nation on 27 February 2019 when it gave a befitting response to the enemy,” said a report by The Nation.
This is in reference to the dogfight that took place between the IAF and PAF last year following the Balakot strike by India.
Indian warplanes crossed the border and dropped bombs in the vicinity of the town of Balakot in Pakistan. The very next day, Pakistan tried to target military installations but was repulsed.
The PAF managed to shoot-down a MiG-21 Bison in aerial combat besides capturing IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, who was handed over to India on March 1, 2019.
New Delhi claimed that F-16s were used by PAF in violation of the agreement signed with the US which prohibits the use of Pakistan’s F-16 for offensive purposes.
Defence experts say that the purpose of the exercises on national highways is to prepare for war situation where the regular airfields or runways are under attack or unavailable. The exercises ensure that the pilots are trained for an emergency landing and take-off preparations.
While the practice is fairly common in other countries, India test landed Mirage-2000 on the Yamuna Expressway near Mathura for the first time in 2015.
In the backdrop of border tensions with China in Eastern Ladakh, the IAF has been preparing for any violent confrontations on all sides of its border.
The newly inducted Rafale fighter jets conducted ‘familiarization’ sorties over Ladakh to acclimatize themselves with the operational conditions. Tensions have been brewing at the Indo Pakistan border as well, making the threat of a two-front war very real.