In 2001, Terrorist groups confirmed to be based in Pakistan attacked the Indian Parliament. The armed forces were told to deploy heavily on the border, during the 2001-2002 stand off. The ceasefire violations on the border were never ending. Indian Air Force had put their western front-line air force bases at high alert. No one was told anything until the green signal came from Delhi. The alertness and the activities regarding this mission will teach a lesson to Pakistani army about the capabilities of Indian Air Force. The mood was set for a surgical strike by Indian Air Force.
Flight Lieutenant Rajiv Mishra, a 29-year-old fighter pilot woke up by a call at his living quarters at the Ambala Air Force Station at about 2 am on 31 July, 2002. He was briefed to leave for Srinagar immediately with Laser Designation equipment. Flight Lieutenant Mishra used to fly in Jaguar Fighters of Indian Air Force. The IAF hadn’t chose Mishra to fly today, but he had to roll on foot. Mishra was briefed about one of the most sensitive and secret mission of IAF.
The details of the mission which will never been revealed to the outside world, until now. Mishra was getting its briefing on the transporter by the Strike Cell of IAF. IAF Strike Cell unit has the most skilled pilots and most lethal aircrafts. They were briefed that they had to mark the Pakistan’s border post who were doing heavy shelling on the Indian posts. IAF jets will take aggressive action against Pakistani forces, IAF has rarely done anything during peace time.
Indian Air Force was following the typical cold start doctrine in which the mission, operatives and the objectives of this mission will confidential. The plan was to take off from Srinagar and all the stations and bases will remain on full alert, in case of Pakistan’s retaliation. Flt Lt Mishra was tasked to go as near as possible of the Pakistan’s artillery posts and tag the post by their laser designators, painting the target with designators is known as lighting up in airforce lingo. When Mishra will light up the post IAF’s aircraft will unleash hell in the form of bombs on Pakistan’s offensive border posts.
When the first ray of sun on July 1st, 2002 showed up, Mishra and his team lifted from the Srinagar airport. A door-less Cheetah helicopter was none other than a surprise but the utility of the modification will be known later. The blast of the shelling could be heard when the chopper was approaching near LOC, they were flying very low and at one BSF post the chopper started hovering and 3 men jumped out of it. As the third men jumped out, the chopper flied out like a ninja from the frontline, his part was over. BSF welcomed their guest with some water and Pakistan’s shelling.
The situation in the BSF bunker could terrify any unfamiliar being. It is these brave hearts who are holding this merciless ground for the protection of the motherland. When the air warriors were waiting in the bunker, they saw the blue-eyed guys of the Indian Army started moving into the bunker, equipped with highly sophisticated weapon systems and gears they were already looking like force from the other world. It was Indian Army Special Forces unit who came to assist the IAF team in eliminating the Pakistani aggression. The IAF team have to climb three mountains to gain a vantage point to paint the Pakistani posts.
Pakistani Posts were so well camouflaged and strategically placed that once it was looking impossible to light them up. The team was still waiting for green signal and on the 1:30 PM , the radio chattered “Fighters in the air”. Team left the bunker and headed towards their targets, Indian Air Force jets could be on their head anytime, they have to hustle.
Team got into the position and activated their laser designators, the fighters in the sky were getting real-time coordinates of the Pakistani post and after sometimes IAF jets rain down lot of bombs on the artillery and machine gun posts of Pakistan. Mirage 2000 locked on the laser beam and bombed the Pakistani bunkers in the Kel area in Kupwara sector.
When the smoke cleared, there was only rubble on the place and Indian Special Forces rushed towards every site to kill any survivor. The casualties were unknown, and they are likely to never come out in public just like the details of this particular operation.
Flt Lt Mishra retired as Airforce.