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Indian forces back to peacetime alert after Balakot but forward bases with Pakistan active

India has not shifted aircraft from its forward bases as sought by Pakistan some days ago in order to open its airspace.

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New Delhi: The Indian military has finally gone back to ‘peacetime alert level’ after several weeks of heightened tension with Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack in Kashmir and the subsequent strikes by the Indian Air Force in Balakot. The incidents also led to a battle for airspace between the two nations – while India had briefly suspended air traffic near its western border, Pakistan shut its airspace for civilian traffic flying into and out of India for nearly five months.

But in a surprising move Tuesday, the neighbouring country opened its airspace for Indian planes.

“We are at peacetime alert as we normally are,” top government sources told ThePrint.

The government sources also said that India has not removed even a single aircraft from its forward bases as sought by Pakistan a few days ago in order to open its airspace.

On alert since the 14 February attack, the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force was further put on the highest level of vigilance after strikes on Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camps in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtukhwa province on 26 February.

Also read: ‘Booze Brigadier’ to egg & tent scams: Indian military must check falling standards in ethics

NOTAMs lifted

In a surprising move, Pakistan Tuesday cancelled its airspace closure in a notice to airmen (NOTAM) after a gap of nearly five months after the Balakot strike. The order stated that the “Pakistan airspace is open for all types of civil traffic on published ATS (air traffic service) routes” with immediate effect.

India too lifted the NOTAM issued by it.

“After cancellation of NOTAMs by Pakistan and India in the early hours today, there are no restrictions on airspace of both countries, flights have started using the closed air routes, bringing a significant relief for airlines,” the Ministry of Civil Aviation tweeted.

The easing of tensions also comes amid the government-to-government discussion that took place at Wagah on 14 July over the Kartapur Corridor.

Sources, however, remained tight-lipped on when exactly the alert went back to peacetime level for Indian military.

No shifting of fighter jets

On 11 July, the aviation secretary of Pakistan Shahrukh Nusrat had told a parliamentary committee that it would not open its airspace for Indian use until India withdraws its fighter jets from forward positions. Nusrat is also the director general of the civil aviation authority (CAA) of Pakistan.

Many in India’s defence and security establishment however believed this precondition was absurd since the country maintains a number of forward bases along the borders, especially in Rajasthan, Punjab and the Line of Control (LoC).

“Pakistan does not decide how India deploys its Army, Naval or Air Force assets. The forward bases have always been there and there has been no change in it,” an official told ThePrint.

The Western Air Command, which looks after the entire operation in the western sector with Pakistan, is the seventh largest air force in the world in terms of aircraft and other assets under its control.

Sources said Pakistan was “perturbed” by the number of small tactical exercises undertaken by the IAF – which saw multiple aircraft forward bases and many even doing combat air patrol.

This, they said, probably forced Pakistan to continue shutting its airspace for a long time since it feared another strike by India.

Also read: Mirage 2000: Why India used these fighter jets for its strike on Pakistan


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  1. Pak is a state led and beleaguered by a despotic military, which deals all the cards in it’s economic , cultural, foreign policy – infact, have the puppet Imran on a string ever since, faked his installation as an elected fraud.
    India must remember that it’s neighbour’s Islamist ideology coupled with hate, inspired by an unquenchable sense of revenge for an unprecedented defeat in both ’65 and’ 71, dismemberment and the 92,000 of its Army’s humiliating surrender to the Indian Armed Forces. Besides, it’s ambitions of an Islamic World Caliphate, with Pak in the drivers seat and hence, the dubious sponsor of ‘Terrorism’.
    A rogue state , must be recognised for what it is and dealt with utmost suspicion and full readiness to smash it completely, once and for all for a lasting peace in the subcontinent and the entire world, as such.

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