Balakot op experience unmatchable: Woman IAF officer who helped intercept Pak planesPTI | New Delhi | Updated: 15-08-2019 22:46 IST | Created: 15-08-2019 22:45 IST
Yudh Seva medal awardee Minty Agarwal, a woman IAF officer who played a key role as flight controller during the aerial combat with Pakistan in February, on Thursday said the experience of being part of the Balakot operation was "unmatchable" to anything in the world. On conferred the coveted military honor, she said the feeling cannot be described in words.
"But most certainly, it is that of pride in the uniform I wear, and of humility owing to the fact that the nation has bestowed such an honor," she told PTI. The defense ministry announced the military awards on the eve of Independence Day celebrations.
Squadron Leader Agarwal had quickly alerted the IAF teams after she spotted a large package of Pakistani Air Force planes heading towards Nowshera sector of Jammu and Kashmir on February 27, a day after India carried out Balakot strikes, officials said on Wednesday. Her action helped the IAF to quickly respond to Pakistani aggression, they said.
"The operations like the ones on February 26 and 27, are the reason why we adorn the uniform. I was lucky to have got the opportunity to be an integral part of these operations. The experience is unmatchable to anything in the world. "The fact that India successfully struck the terror camps at Balakot and we thwarted their plans on February 27 are a testimony to the professionalism and dedication of the team IAF," Agarwal said.
IAF fighter jets had bombed a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp in Balakot on February 26, nearly two weeks after the Pulwama terror attack. Pakistan retaliated on February 27 by attempting to target Indian military installations.
Besides Agarwal, the Yudh Seva medal winners are Air Commodore Sunil Kashinath Vidhate, Group Captain Yeshpal Singh Negi, Group Captain Hemant Kumar and Group Captain Hansel Joseph Sequeira. The IAF received a total of 13 awards, including the five Yudh Seva medals.
At least five IAF pilots who were part of the mission to strike the Jaish-e-Mohammad camp in Balakot were among the military awardees. Vayu Sena medals were given to Group Captain Saumitra Tamaskar, Wing Commander Pranav Raj, Wing Commander Amit Ranjan, Sq Ldr Rahul Basoya, Sq Ldr Pankaj Arvind Bhujade, Sq Ldr B Karthik Narayan Reddy, Sq Ldr Shashank Singh.