Timeline of IAF’s air strike in Pakistan: All you need to know

The Indian Air Force struck and destroyed a Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp in the Balakote sector across the Line of Control in a pre-dawn operation on February 26. This move came after the ghastly terror attack in Pulwama where over 40 CRPF soldiers were martyred. Jaish-e-Mohammad terror outfit took responsibility for the attack.

As per sources, the operation was carried out by a formation of 12 Mirage fighter jets that struck around 6 targets in the Balakote sector by guided laser bombs, a large number of terrorists have been eliminated.

According to the foreign secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale, the air strike carried out by IAF is a ‘non-military pre-emptive move’ and it was specifically targeted to the JeM camp making sure to avoid civilian casualty. “JeM were attempting to carry out more suicide attacks in India. The training camp was headed by Yusuf Azhar.”

India is firmly and resolutely committed to taking all measures to fight the menace of terrorism. The camp was located on a hilltop, in a thick forest, away from civilian presence, he added.

Here is the timeline of the air strike that lasted 21 minutes: 

Tuesday, February 26, 2019 – 3:30 am onwards 


According to reports, the IAF jointly conducted three attacks in Balakot, Chakothi and Muzaffarabad.

1. The strike at Balakote, located 24 kilometers northwest of Muzaffarabad, took place around 3:30 am and 3:53 am.

2. The strike at Muzaffarabad took place between 3:48 am and 3:55 am

3. The strike at Chakoti took place between 3:58 am and 4:04 am

These areas are the joint training camps of the Jaish, Lashkar, and Hizbul.



More information- 

  • As per sources, a formation of 12 Mirage-2000 fighter jets, participated in the operation.
  • The operation involved dropping 1000kgs of guided laser bombs.
  • Alpha 3 control rooms of the Jaish-e-Mohammed were completely destroyed in the operation
  • The strike involved a low-fly run by the Indian Air Force’s fighters across the LoC.

Pakistan had claimed that the Indian Air Force violated the Line of Control (LoC), following which the former ‘scrambled’ immediately.

F16s were scrambled to retaliate against IAF Mirage 2000s but turned back due to the size of Indian formation. Western Air Command coordinated operation, ANI quotes sources as saying.

READ ALSO: IAF strike LIVE Updates: Training camp in Balakot destroyed, over 300 terrorists eliminated

The air strikes were carried out in a meticulous manner. Here is the timeline which lead to the air strike by the IAF. 

Chronology of events 

The strike on the Pak terror camps comes just two weeks short of the Pulwama terror attack which took place on February 14, 2019.

Thursday, February 14, 2019- Pulwama

The Pulwama attack touted the biggest terror attack after 26/11 took place around 3:30 pm in which a suicide bomber in an explosives-laden car targeted a CRPF convoy. Over 40 CRPF Jawans were martyred in the attack and Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility shortly afterward.

Friday, February 15, 2019 

PM addressed the nation and said that the time and place of the strike will be decided by the forces.

On February 15 at 9:30 am, the Indian Air Force Chief BS Dhanoa presented air strike as a retaliatory response to the Pulwama attack.

India withdraws MFN status to Pak – “Most Favoured Nation status to Pakistan stands withdrawn,” Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters after the conclusion of the meeting of Cabinet Committee on Security, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

February 16 to 20, 2019 

The IAF and the Indian Army conducted airborne surveillance along the LoC with Heron drones.

February 20 to 22, 2019 

IAF and intelligence agencies drew up a map of possible sites to strike. On February 21, NSA Doval was presented with the target options for the air strike. On February 22, IAF’s one Squadron Tigers and seven Squadron Battle Axes were activated for the mission.

February 18-22, 2019 – Crackdown on separatist leaders 

The state government withdrew security cover from several Kashmiri separatist leaders, including Malik, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Shabir Shah, and Saleem Geelani. Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik was detained on February 22, 2019.

February 22-24, 2019

Two Mirage squadrons designate 12 jets for the mission. On February 24, trial runs were conducted over central India.

February 26, 2019

The IAF strike conducted the air strike on terror camps of Jaish-e-Mohammad eliminating a number of terrorists. Prime Minister Narendra Modi later chaired a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Security which was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

10:06 pm- “ये मोदी का हिंदुस्तान है, घर में घुसेगा भी और मारेगा भी, Air Force carried out aerial strike early morning today at terror camps across the LoC and Completely destroyed it एक एक क़तरा ख़ून का हिसाब होगा !ये तो एक शुरुआत है .. ये देश नहीं झुकने दूंगा…” tweeted Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare, Government of India. MP (Lok Sabha) Jodhpur, National General Secretary- BJP Farmer’s Wing.


My govt made the impossible, possible: PM addresses rally in Churu

2:00 pm – Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a rally of ex-soldiers/servicemen in Churu, hours after the strikes on Balakot in Pakistan. “The country is in safe hands,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing the rally.



Earlier in a landmark surgical strike carried out by the Indian army on terrorist camps in POK inflicting casualties back in 2016. Nearly 10 days after the Uri attack that claimed 18 jawans, India carried out surgical strikes in POK. However, Pakistan denied that a cross-border strike had taken place, saying that Indian troops had fired small arms across the Line of Control.

Pakistan had claimed that the Indian Air Force violated the Line of Control (LoC), following which the former ‘scrambled’ immediately.

Pakistan’s claim comes in the wake of tense relations between the two countries in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack.

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