Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on Monday confirmed that the Indian fighter jets had successfully hit targets in Pakistan's Balakot but clarified that the Indian Air Force was not in a position to confirm the number of casualties in the attack.
Dhanoa said giving the count of how many terrorists were killed during the Balakot air strikes was the government's job. "IAF is not in a position to clarify the number of casualties. The government will clarify that. We don't count human casualties, we count what targets we have hit or not," he said.
Dhanoa also dismissed Pakistan's claim that there were no casualties in the Indian air strike, saying if there was no damage why did they respond.
"If we plan to hit the target, we hit the target, otherwise why would he (Pakistan PM) have responded, if we dropped bombs in the jungles why would he respond," he said.
There have been reports in the Pakistani and international media that there were no casualties during the Balakot air strikes and that the Indian Air Force bombed a hill that resulted in the uprooting of some trees.
Meanwhile, Dhanoa also answered a question on why the Indian Air Force had used MiG-21 Bison was used against Pakistan's superior F-16 jets. "It's in our inventory, why will we not use it? I will not comment on ongoing operations. MiG-21 Bison is capable, it has been upgraded and we fight with all aircraft in our inventory," he said.
Speaking about Wing Commander Abhinandan who returned to India on March 1, Dhanoa said, "Whether he (Wing Commander Abhinandan) flies or not depends on his medical fitness. That's why post ejection, he had undergone medical check. Whatever treatment required, will be given. Once we get his medical fitness, he will get into fighter cockpit," the Air Chief Marshal said.
Dhanoa also said that the IAF does not take chances with a fighter pilot's fitness and mentioned that that the condition of a pilot's spine has to be good to fly a jet. Wing Commander Abhinandan had hurt his back when he ejected from the jet. He had also sustained injuries to his ribs.