MUMBAI: Pakistan always underestimated India's national leadership and they did the same during the Balakot airstrikes, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa said here on Friday.
The IAF chief, who retires later this month, was speaking at the India Today Conclave.
"You must remember that Pakistan has always underestimated our national leadership. Always. In the 1965 war, they underestimated Lal Bahadur Shastri. They never expected him to open up the front and go to Lahore," he said.
"And then they were surprised. They had thought that he will be only fighting in Kashmir. They were surprised. In the Kargil conflict, they were again surprised.
"They never expected us to pull all our forces and get our Bofors guns and get the Air Force into it and take them out," the IAF chief said.
"So they have always miscalculated. Even now, after Pulwama (terror attack) happened, I think they had miscalculated, thinking that our political leadership will not permit such a (Balakot-like) strike.
It is not that our Air Force is not capable.
They (Pakistan) know what our capability is. But they were always under the impression that our leadership will not (act)," he said.
In February this year, India carried out airstrikes across the LoC and destroyed terror camps in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province inside Pakistan.
The strikes involving several fighter jets destroyed camps belonging to Pakistan-based terror outfits in Balakot.
Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, VM, ADC is the 25th IAF chief and assumed the post in December 2016 after Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha retired.
Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa will be succeeded by Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria, who was named as the next IAF chief recently.