It has been announced by the government that Pakistan will celebrate ‘Surprise Day’ on February 27. This celebration will be a tribute to the retaliatory attack by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) following the failed Balakot airstrike by India.
On 27th Feb 2019, PAF carried out Operation Swift Retort and shot down two Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter aircraft. Bombs were dropped within the compounds of Indian military facilities in occupied Kashmir.
In case of any misadventure, the Pakistani military has made sure to ‘surprise’ India saying that ‘uncalled-for aggression would not go unpunished’.
In this operation, the Pakistani military also captured an Indian pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman after shooting down his Mig-21. Later on, the Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan returned him to Indian authorities as ‘a goodwill gesture’.
The Foreign Office in a statement said, “The sole purpose of this [PAF] action was to demonstrate our right, will, and capability for self-defense. We do not wish to escalate, but we’re fully prepared if forced into that paradigm.”
As per the then director-general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Major General Asif Ghafoor, India jets were shot down after the PAF planes struck targets across the Line of Control (LoC) as a show of strength.
Ghafoor said, “In response to PAF strikes this morning, as released by MoFA, IAF [Indian Air Force] crossed [the] LoC. The] PAF shot down two Indian aircraft inside Pakistani airspace. One of the aircraft fell inside AJK while [the] other fell inside IOK. One Indian pilot arrested by troops on the ground.”