In the first joint media briefing since the escalation of hostilities between India and Pakistan, the army, navy and air force welcomed Pakistan's announcement that IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman would be released on Friday.
"We are very happy Abhinandan will be freed tomorrow and look forward to his
return," Air Vice Marshal R G K Kapoor, assistant chief of Air Staff, told the news conference.
The armed forces also said they were fully prepared and in a heightened state of readiness to respond to any provocation by Pakistan.
"We are ready for any misadventure by Pakistan and we are ready for resolute action. We want to ensure safety and security of our citizens," Navy Rear Admiral DS Gujral said during a press briefing in Delhi on Thursday.
The briefing was postponed by two hours after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that he would free captured pilot Abhinandan Varthaman tomorrow as a "gesture of peace".
Asked if the IAF sees it as a goodwill move, he said, "We see it as a gesture in consonance with the Geneva Conventions."
He was addressing the media along with the representatives of the Army and the Navy, who both said the armed forces are on high alert and ready to meet any security challenge on land and sea.
Tensions between the two countries escalated after Indian fighters bombed terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed's biggest training camp near Balakot deep inside Pakistan early Tuesday. It came 12 days after the JeM claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Kashmir, killing 40 soldiers.
Kapoor said it was up to the political leadership to decide when and how to release evidence of the Balakot strike's success.
He was responding to a question that there was some scepticism about whether IAF fighters had hit the intended targets.
Kapoor said there is credible information and evidence that "we hit the intended targets" and it was premature to assess the casualties and damage.
The IAF showed parts of Amraam missiles as proof that Pakistan used F-16 aircraft to attack Indian military establishments on Wednesday.
Pakistan lied that no F-16 was used but there was enough evidence, Kapoor said.
Stating that Pakistan aircraft targeted military installations, he added that PAF bombs were unable to damage any of India's defence installations.
Addressing the gathering, Indian Army's Major General S S Mahal said escalation of tensions had been done by Pakistan but India was prepared for any contingency if the enemy provoked it.
Mechanised forces were put on standby and troops were ready to deal with any security challenge, he said.
Rear Admiral of the Indian Navy Dalbir Singh Gujral said the force was in a high state of readiness to deal with any Pakistan maritime misadventure.
Varthaman's MiG 21 was shot and he bailed out after bringing down two Pakistani F-16 fighters during a dogfight to repel a Pakistani attack on Wednesday morning, he said. He has been in Pakistan since then.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE PRESSER:
7:35 pm: As long as Pakistan continues to harbour terrorists, we will continue to target the terror camps
Major General Surendra Singh Mahal: As long as Pakistan continues to harbour terrorists, we will continue to target the terror camps pic.twitter.com/IOl8768FxU— ANI (@ANI) February 28, 2019
7:30 pm: Indian armed forces produce evidence of AARAM missile fired from Pakistani F-16
Visuals of cover of AARAM missile fired from Pakistani F-16 aircraft found near the LoC in India pic.twitter.com/qHdOm5cDqN— ANI (@ANI) February 28, 2019
7:25 pm: Joint media brief by Army, Air Force and Navy. IAF says credible evidence that damage to terror camps was done by air strikes.
Air Vice MArshal RGK Kapoor: There is enough evidence to show that F-16s were used in this mission through their electronic signatures. Parts of AMRAAM, air to air missile which is carried only on the Pakistani F-16s was recovered east of Rajouri within the Indian territory. pic.twitter.com/edtvXYnNbK— ANI (@ANI) February 28, 2019
7:10 pm: Happy that Wing Commander Abhinandan is returning tomorrow
One Pakistani F-16 was shot down by an IAF MiG 21 Bison Aircraft. East of Rajouri, parts of F-16have been recovered, inside Indian territory. Also, IAF is happy that Wing Commander Abhinandan is returning tomorrow: Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor.
(With inputs from agencies)