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Balakot Air Strikes: Indian Air Chief Says Govt’s Job To Count ‘Casualties’ Not Ours

India’s Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa on Monday said that the Narendra Modi-led government would announce the number of ‘casualties’ that resulted from an airstrike in Pakistan’s Balakot region, NDTV reported.

“The Indian Air Force (IAF) cannot count how many people died. That statement will be made by the government,” Dhanoa said in response to a question during a press conference in Coimbatore.

He said that the air force cannot clarify how many people were inside as it does not count human casualties.

Last week, the IAF had violated Pakistani airspace and allegedly struck a militant hideout in Balakot. Indian media had claimed that the airforce had killed more than ‘300 terrorists’. However, Pakistan has denied the claim, saying that IAF returned unsuccessful after the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) “immediately scrambled” its jets. According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the Indian aircraft released their payload “in haste” as they returned.

The air chief on Monday, however, insisted that the IAF had “hit the target”.

“Otherwise why would [Pakistan] have responded? If we had dropped bombs in the jungle there would be no need to respond,” he said.

Dhanoa also refused to comment further on what he described as an “ongoing operation”, saying: “We won’t comment on ongoing operations. A MiG-21 Bison is capable, upgraded, has a better weapon system, [and] better radar.”

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