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Terrorist attack at Air Force Base: Pathankot

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Pathankot: Security forces gun downed four terrorists and two jawans also lost their lives on Saturday early morning, following an attack on the Indian Air Force (IAF) in Pathankot district. Punjab’s ADGP Dhillon confirmed PTI that encounter is over.

The gunfire started at around 3:30 AM, police have cordoned off the area and army was called.

“Based on developments of yesterday (Friday) Army sounded alert accordingly and had placed two-Army Columns and a Special Force team in the Pathankot base prior to the attack,” an army spokesperson in New Delhi said.

“NSG team has also teamed up with them to foil the terrorist plans; local Brigade Commander of Army is coordinating the operations; in addition UAVs of Army and IAF have also been put into action to get inputs,” the spokesperson added.

The technical area where MiG-29 fighter aircraft and helicopters are kept was safe.

Security forces were already on high alert in the past 24 hours after an incident in a nearby area where a senior police officer was abducted in his car late Thursday but released later.

Two IAF helicopters could be seen assisting security forces in combing operations.

The Pathankot-Jammu highway was put on high alert by security forces. The entire area near the IAF station was sealed.

“High alert has been sounded in Kathua district and entry into the state from neighbouring Punjab at Lakhanpur is being monitored and checked”, said a senior police officer in winter capital Jammu.

Defence sources said the army has been moved out on the highway to ensure no militant was able to sneak into Jammu and Kashmir.

Security forces were put on high alert in Pathankot in Punjab’s frontier district Gurdaspur on Friday after a senior police officer said he and his associates were seized by five armed men in army fatigues.(IANS)

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Operation Meghdoot: Role of Indian Air Force

Indian Air Force backed the Indian Army during Operation Meghdoot by supplying troops and stores

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Ensign of Indian Air Force. Wikimedia commons
Ensign of Indian Air Force. Wikimedia commons
  • Operation Meghdoot’s objective was to capture the Siachen Glacier.
  • Indian Army expeditions were going on in the high-altitude region.
  • IAF was tasked with supporting the troops with backup and supplies.

Operation Meghdoot was launched in 1984, it aimed to capture the Siachen Glacier. It was quite a unique operation because of Siachen’s dreaded terrain and unforgiving climate. The mission was a successful one, India gained control over the Siachen Glacier.

India now controls the 70 kilometres long glacier and the three major passes west of it (Sia La, Bilafond La, and Gyong La. Whereas Pakistan controls the area west of Saltoro Ridge. The TIME magazine states, India has control over 1,000 square miles of territory because of its exceptional military operation.

You may also like: 20 Amazing Facts About Indian Navy

Siachen glacier, known as the third pole of the world, is one of the most dreaded places in the world. Mainly due to its temperature and terrain. Wikimedia commons
Siachen glacier, known as the third pole of the world, is one of the most dreaded places in the world. Mainly due to its temperature and terrain. Wikimedia Commons

IAF had played a major role in this operation. It used Il-76, An-12, and An-32 to transport troops and drop supplies to these extremely high altitude battlefields. Following which, Mi-17, Mi-8 and HAL Chetak would carry the same to the east.

IAF’s performance was incredible, taking into account how extreme the temperature and altitude are at Siachen. The operation is a saga which showcased such skill that can never be forgotten.

IAF's uncompromising valour made it possible for the Indian Army to capture the Siachen Glacier. Wikimedia commons
IAF’s uncompromising valour made it possible for the Indian Army to capture the Siachen Glacier. Wikimedia Commons

Role of Indian Air Force

When the first IAF sortie was launched to Siachen on 20th September 1978, Chetak helicopters used to supply stores to the on-ground Indian Army. That’s when a thought occurred to one of the IAF officers “Why not pick their emails for their loved ones back home?” They used to drop a string with a note saying “We are coming back in 10 minutes. Please write your letters and put them in a bag.”

This kind gesture of the Indian Air Force symbolized the brotherhood of ‘men in arms’. It also boosted the morale of Indian Army troops who were leading expeditions on the ‘third pole of the world’.

Also read: All you want to know about the ranks of Indian army

IAF operates from 60 bases across the country. Wikimedia commons
IAF operates from 60 bases across the country. Wikimedia Commons

IAF helicopters used to fly at the height of 16,000 feet, many times, the officers had to take oxygen directly from the pipe. They also had the job of taking injured troops back to base camp. However, it isn’t as simple as it sounds.

Finding the expedition parties in the never-ending desert of ice, then landing the helicopter on the lumps of snow were tasks that required unmistakable skill.

IAF is the fourth most powerful air force in the world. Wikimedia commons
IAF is the fourth most powerful air force in the world. Wikimedia Commons

How IAF operates in Siachen now

Indian Air Force has a far different set of procedures than that of the time of Operation Meghdoot. The operations are scientifically planned and executed meticulously.

  • IL-76s and An-32s supply stores to the men in Leh and Thoise from Chandigarh.
  • Thereafter, Mi-17 helicopters airdrop supplies to the lower level helipads at 17,500 feets.
  • Cheetahs then take over and ferry the supplies to helipads situated at 20,000 feet.