On Feb 27, 2019, the PAF carried out Operation Swift Retort in response to the Indian strikes on militant outfits in Balakot and shot down an Indian Air Force (IAF) jet Mig 21 Bison.
The operation also resulted in the capture of an Indian pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, after his Mig-21 was shot down. The pilot was later handed over to Indian authorities within almost 48 hours after New Delhi launched a massive, but covert diplomatic offensive and threatened to escalate the matter.
Following the Pulwama incident where over 40 Indian paramilitary soldiers were killed, the IAF fighter jets violated Pakistani airspace near LoC and were chased away by Pakistan Air Force (PAF) jets on February 26.
Living up to its promise to ‘surprise’ India, the very next day PAF fighter jets violated the Indian air space and demonstrated its capabilities.
“The sole purpose of this action was to demonstrate our right, will and capability for self-defence. We do not wish to escalate, but we’re fully prepared if forced into that paradigm,” the Foreign Office had said in a statement.