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Watch | #BeyondTheHeadlines: Friendly Fire: Balakot’s Costs Are Clearer, But Not the Benefits

Seven months after the Balakot airstrike – which preceded the tragedy at Budgam where six IAF personnel were shot down by an Indian missile – do we have a clear sense of what the accomplishments of the airstrike really were?

On Thursday, the Indian Air Force officially acknowledged what people in the military and many defence correspondents knew at least six months ago – that the helicopter which crashed in Budgam in Kashmir on February 27, killing six IAF personnel and one civilian on the ground, had been brought down by an Indian missile.

This was a big mistake, Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria told reporters yesterday, and he promised the air force would act against those responsible. In this episode of ‘Beyond the Headlines’, we look at the backstory to Budgam and analyse whether seven months after the Balakot airstrike – which preceded the tragedy – we have a clear sense of what the costs and accomplishments of the airstrike really were.

The Indian Air Force lost the lives of six of its personnel, besides a helicopter and a MiG-21. One of its pilots was shot down, captured and paraded on Pakistani television, and an Indian civilian died. That’s the question Siddharth Varadarajan is asking today.