IAF conducts precision bombing practice runs

December 24th, 2008 - 7:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Dec 24 (IANS) With the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) flying sorties over two important cities in the wake of heightened sub-continental tensions after the Mumbai carnage, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has been carrying out precision bombing practice runs to prepare itself for any eventuality, sources said Wednesday.With the option of carrying out precision bombings of terrorist camps in Pakistan-administered Kashmir doing the rounds, IAF sources told IANS that its fighter jets have been carrying out practice sorties at firing ranges in the Rajasthan sector and elsewhere.

“Precision bombings are being carried out at various air-to-ground ranges like Pokhran, Jamnagar, Jodhpur, Gwalior and Halwara,” an IAF source said.

However, IAF spokesman Wing Commander Mahesh Upasani said: “It is a routine exercise. We carry out such practices on a regular basis.”

The sources also added that there would be no deployment of IAF fighter jets at forward air bases.

“With the coming of air-to-air refuellers, India does not need to deploy fighters at the forward bases. The aircraft can cover any distance, perform their mission and return to their respective bases,” the sources said.

Pakistan does not have air-to-air refuellers.

Tension between the two neighbours heightened after the Mumbai terror attacks, with India asking Pakistan to crack down on the terrorist camps functioning from its soil.

On Tuesday, India cautioned against “creating war hysteria” and asked Islamabad to address the real issue of “dismantling the terror machine” in that country.

Taking a long-range view, New Delhi also indicated its preference for diplomatic options by asking the international community to intensify pressure on Islamabad to comply with the UN resolutions against terrorism.

In a carefully calibrated message, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday underscored India’s growing impatience with diversionary tactics adopted by Islamabad as he appealed to the international community to pressurise Pakistan to honour its anti-terror commitments.

“The issue is not war, the issue is terror and territory in Pakistan being used to promote, aid and abet this terror,” Manmohan Singh told reporters outside parliament. “Nobody wants war,” he stressed.

PAF jets flew a series of sorties over Lahore and Rawalpindi on Monday as part of its increased “vigilance”, officials said.

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