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Air Force chief says IAF doesn't count casualties: Here's what experts have to say

Updated : March 04, 2019 10:39 PM IST

Sidestepping a raging debate on the number of casualties in the Balakot strike, IAF chief B S Dhanoa on Monday said it is for the government to provide details on the terrorists killed and the Air Force only sees if a target has been hit or not.

The Air Force doesn't count human casualties, Dhanoa said as the figure of how many terrorists were killed in the February 26 attack on a Jaish-e-Mohammed camp in Balakot in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province remained unclear.

Government sources said up to 350 terrorists were killed, BJP president Amit Shah put the toll at 250, some media reports indicated the damage was minimal and opposition leaders clamoured for clarity. But there has been no official statement so far.

"We don't count human casualties. We count what targets we have hit or not hit," Dhanoa said in his first comments since the events of last week, when escalating India-Pakistan tensions led to aerial combat and Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman being in captivity in Pakistan for almost three days. The air chief told reporters the Indian Air Force pilot would fly a fighter jet if he was fit.

CNBC-TV18 caught up with Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Program at the Wilson Center, Kanwal Sibal, former foreign secretary and Praveen Swami, Editor of Firstpost to discuss the issue.
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