Northern Army Commander Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh had visited troops along LoC in Rajouri Sector on February 27. | Twitter: @NorthernComd_IA
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New Delhi: When Pakistan Air Force fighter jets dropped a bomb near an Indian defence installation in Jammu and Kashmir on 27 February — a day after the Balakot strike by the Indian Air Force — Islamabad claimed that this was done to display its capability and not target the Indian military.

The H-4 Stand-Off Weapon, a precision-guided glide bomb, dropped by the PAF fell into the compound of the Indian Army Brigade Headquarters in the Rajouri sector, making it a close call.

This call, ThePrint has learnt, was much closer than known earlier as two top Indian Army commanders — Northern Army Commander Lt Gen. Ranbir Singh and 16 Corps Commander Lt Gen. Paramjit Singh — had stepped out of the Brigade Headquarters “minutes before” the bomb fell.

The two commanders, top sources in the defence and security establishment told ThePrint, had left for a nearby post when the PAF bomb fell into the compound of the Brigade Headquarters. This post was less than 700 metres from the spot where the bomb struck.

The Northern Command and the Indian Army headquarters did not respond to requests for comment from ThePrint for this report.


Also readHow a woman officer helped IAF hit back when Pakistani jets targeted India after Balakot


‘Real plan of PAF’

The PAF fighter jets were chased away by the IAF after a dogfight which saw IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman being shot down and captured by Pakistan. He was released after nearly 60 hours in Pakistani captivity as the two countries pulled back from the brink of war.

The new information suggests that they may have escalated to an even more serious turn of events had the PAF bomb hit the Brigade Headquarters when the top commanders were inside.

After the dogfight between the two air forces, Pakistani military spokesperson Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor claimed that the PAF had intentionally dropped bombs near important military installations (and not at them) to show their capability.

On 29 April, Ghafoor said Pakistan knew who was at the Brigade Headquarters when “they intentionally dropped the bombs near it”.


Also read: After Balakot, Pakistani & Indian air forces are now fighting war of uniform patches


Indian defence sources, however, told ThePrint that radio chatter picked up by Indian forces made it clear that the real plan of the PAF was to hit Indian military assets. The sudden appearance of IAF MiG-21s from across the Pir Panjal range thwarted the plan, they said.

At the same time, the sources said the presence of the senior commanders in the area was a matter of chance and something Pakistan couldn’t have known. Northern Army Commander Lt Gen. Singh was there to review the situation near the Line of Control amid suspicions that Pakistan would try and respond to the Balakot air strike.

Indian Army sources explained Ghafoor’s 29 April claim saying Pakistan may have learnt about the visit of the top commanders to the Rajouri Brigade Headquarters as the Northern Command had tweeted news about the visit on 28 February.

An earlier version of the report dated Pakistan military spokesperson Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor’s remark about Brigade Headquarters to February. He made the statement in April.

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38 Comments Share Your Views

38 COMMENTS

  1. I love how Indians still think they shot down an F16 when it wasn’t even an F16 there.
    Poor BJP Government needs to give Abhinandan a gallantry award to save face.
    I also am amused to see how they feel we have back Abhinandan because Modi said so…… balakot was a Pak victory and Modi was clueless.
    The people of India should truly thank Imran Khan for his peace gesture.

    • There is nothing to “think”. The Indians and rest of the world know that there was indeed an F-16 shot down by the MiG, thanks to WCmdr Abhinandan’s persistence and bravery. It’s only pakistanis who like to live in the dark. After initial denial, even the ISPR accepted that F-16 squadrons participated in shameful display of what PAF calls a military exercise.
      Oh! And Indians do not need to thank Imran or any one else in Pakistan. Pakistanis returned WCmdr Abhinandan safe because they were afraid as Indian Navy assets hovered around their Karachi port while IAF prepared for more sorties into Pakistan and Pakistani military and Nation did not have enough funds, bullets, or will to fight the war.

  2. Why are Indians so upset about Abhinandan’s supposed F16 shoot down not being mentioned? Election’s over guys, Modi is back to prachar as well. Face the facts and stop crying like little babies.

  3. Either way very embarrassing for the fourth largest air force in the world ….This happens when military engages in conflict to help a political party win an election !!!!

  4. Well if the Indian threats worked to Release the Wing commander, why wasn’t the same used for RAW agent Kulbhushan???

  5. To those saying Pakistan cowered and handed over the pilot because we threatened to go full scale, well of it’s that easy then why not do same for Kulbushan Yaldev.

  6. The Print is anti national, always write against Indian Army and India. Shame on you. Has any reporters from your media house served in the Army ? Then,what makes you to spread rumours and praise bloody bastared Paki’s ?

  7. This is a completely I’ll informed Article 1 does not mention that the Pakistani plane that was shot down and also the fact that Pakistani establishment was warned that if Indian Pilot was not released they better prepare for a full war hence Pakistani Government had to release the pilot 2 the fact that Pakistan doesn’t have the money to fuel their planes and some one spoke about the aggregation they had to shut down there Air space for a month

    • You have any evidence???? Lol. Except the imagery and coputeries presentation of your Air Force reprezentative VAM MR. KOOPR which based on a man made computer graphics nothing substantial. Your country have the very good relations with US my country has not plz ask the US the endorse the stament of your foreign office or IAF on the shoot down the PAF f16 on 27 Feb. The fact of the matter is the IAF was baddly humiliated on hand of PAF on 27 Feb. I under stand your condition but this is not first time happen please bear this.

    • You live in FOOLS PARADISE, I wonder how FOOL you Indians are. Not a single video, picture, eyewitness, and still you say you SHOT DOWN F16, grow up Indians, even Abhinandan did not claim to shoot F16, he only claimed that he locked. And for your Kind informations, all 4 missiles of Mig 21 was shown, US Officials have all records of F16, they even counted but you Indians live in FOOLS PARADISE. Apni shalwar ko pagri banana koi tum INDIANS say seekhay hahahahahahaha

  8. So based on radio chatter from PAF, India has ascertained that they intended to hit the targets. Is that the evidence you have got? What if the radio chatter was meant to trick the IAF? This is very common in wars, where certain messages are intentionally released to the enemy.

  9. This might be a news for Indians. The whole world knew about it from Day 1 that is Feb 27. Unfortunately Modi media was only spreading fals news to show 56 inch chest of Modi which was badly punctured by PAF on Feb 27th.

  10. The Print stooped to new low, they mention the IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman MIG was shot down but did not mention the F-16 which Wing Commander shot down. Shame on you Pakistani news paper “The Print”. Instead of theprint.in why not mention the theprint.pk

  11. Indian Army and Air Force did not the muscle and the will to respond to Pakistan straight forward aggression on them. Pakistan is ready for warn but India is reluctant.

  12. At least someone in the Indian media is sensible and bringing the truth about the Pakistan’s air force surgical strike in Indian Occupied Kashmir .The Bombs were H-4 stand off weapons fired from 100km range .After bombing , Indian Air force sent 8 fighter jets .The Mig 21 came inside AJK and targeted by Jf-17 thunder challengers while Su-30 was targeted by Beyond visual range weapon by F-16 .The attack created so much panic that Indian Air force target their own Helicopter .

  13. I like it Indian media slowly accepting all the stories we already know from Maj Ghafoor press briefing. Sooner the balakot ecoterrorism committed by IAF will be briefed.

  14. Indians are best fighters only in media and copywood (Bollywood) movies. But the reality is totally opposite. Indians were so much confused that they shoot down their own MI-17 Chopper. To raise the moral of demoralized indian nation, they have invented story of shooting down F-16 but so far could not provide an iota of evidence.

  15. Right now liar Indian media and their armed forces spokespersons are admitting that their Army Chief was there while PAF responses back to coward IAF, who dropped off their payload in the jungle and claimed that they have killed 300 people in Balakot lol. While before they were saying that no airspace violations were made by IAF even not accepting their 2 aircrafts were shot down by brave PAF pilots. Pakistan zinda abad

  16. Everybody knows the the print journalism. You the print delibrately circulate the false propaganda of pak. Stop it. You brings news from Khan market. No one believes on you.

  17. waiting for clouds, i suppose

    pakisyan has proven its point of superior tactics. no amount of jugglery of words and imaginative actions (sudden appearance of IAF MiG-21s from across the Pir Panjal range thwarted the plan OR senior commanders in the area was a matter of chance and something Pakistan couldn’t have known)

    come on… which age is your military living in ?
    welcome to the new world

  18. Shame on the print…traitors…no mention of f16 downing by Abhi…lucky to be in India bcoz India is insanely tolerance country…..

  19. Why did the poor PAF wasted precious aviation fuel and bombs if they never wanted to hit? Such useless show off would hurt already precarious Pak economy.

  20. Within days of the strikes inside Indian held Kashmir, we knew there was some senior official at the HQs. This was common knowledge on this side of the border. There was more to the story which I would like to keep to myself. Hirak commenting before me should know that Indian defence system was indeed activated and used but unfortunately on IAF’s own helicopter. This is also common knowledge on both sides of the border. Having said all this, PAF was significantly successful in inflicting damage, both reported and unreported, than IAF. IAF strike did no damage except to some trees and a crow. An elderly man was injured when the blast shook his residence’s already deteriorated walls. That was pretty much it. Anyway, it was a dangerous situation which has successfully been averted thanks to efforts of Imran Khan and international establishment. Warmongering is not good for Pakistan or India. We have many more important issues to solve; some of which can be solved together.

  21. Feb 29th? This is not a leap year and unless you are forecasting something to happen in 2020, it should be 01 Mar.

  22. Pakistani media (sourcing military Intel) has said few hours after the strikes that General Rawat & other members to Indian army high command were present and they heard the explosions. This was not an after thought. They had Intel. Part of PAF plan was to bait IAF and shoot some of them down. That is why they came at an altitude so Indians can see them and come after them.

  23. So you people don’t believe that Abhinandan Bartaman did actually shoot down a F-16. On the contrary you smuggily bear no suspicion in accepting pak propaganda that they intentionally dropped the bomb near the “important military installation”. How sickular journalism from a great presstitute!

    • Well, no one believes Abhi shot down an F-16, unless IAF presents irrefutable evidence, radar logs, photos etc.

  24. The air defence mechanism of the Indian Army should have been activated and tested . The PAF should have been inflicted more damage .

    • Thanks to indian air defense none of the bombs could hit their designated targets.Poor pak army short of munition is not stupid to waste their highly expensive smart bombs by shooting empty ground near brigade HQ.

    • Huhhh. More damage.. the IAF maybe stronger in numbers,but not not in skill. You should thank god that this was a calculated retaliation, to dominate the escalation ladder,if the PAF was ordered a full attack,believe it your IAF could not have even lifted a jet….😁

      • Skills, your country is way behind India and your military is also weak. Most of your people are semi-illiterates. So, forget skill. You know had that been the case GHQ would not be safe.😀😀

  25. Shekhar and company you are not appreciating laudable chivalry of Indian forces, but making heading of liar Pakistan, Your journalism is cowardice.

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