Indian False Strategic Narratives: Pakistan-India Tension Still Remains

By Sajjad Shaukat

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on April 7, this year: “Pakistan has credible intelligence reports that India is planning another act of aggression against it between 16th and 20th of this month”. He elaborated that in order to justify its military action and to increase diplomatic pressure against Pakistan; India can create a new drama in Occupied Kashmir on the pattern of Pulwama. He further said that in view of these facts, “the Foreign Office immediately invited the ambassadors of permanent members of UN Security Council and apprised them of Pakistan’s apprehensions on developments, taking place in the neighboring country” and added that “country’s Foreign Secretary impressed upon them that international community should take notice of this dangerous development and stop India.”

Taking note of Indian prospective attack, Indian Deputy High Commissioner was summoned to Foreign Office in Islamabad to warn his country against any misadventure targeting Pakistan.

Very tension escalated rapidly between India and Pakistan when on February 27, this year, in response to the Indian so-called pre-emptive air strike near the town of Balakot, close to the border with Pakistan’s sector of Kashmir, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) shot down two Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets and launched aerial strikes at six targets in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK).

Addressing a press conference on the same day, Director General of Pakistan Army’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Maj-Gen. Asif Ghafoor said that Pakistan Air Force have conducted aerial strikes across the Line of Control (LoC) from Pakistani airspace and shot down two Indian aircraft. One of the two Indian air force pilots was taken into custody.

Regarding Indian surgical strike, Maj-Gen. Asif Ghafoor explained: “There are only mud-brick homes. There is no madrassas. There isn’t even a concrete house…Two of the dried mud structures were damaged in the explosions…No one has been killed, no one has been seriously hurt…Indian planes crossed into the Muzafarabad sector of Pakistani-side of Kashmir…Pakistan scrambled its warplanes and the Indian jets released their payload in haste near Balakot.”

Afterwards, journalists visited the targeted site of Balakot and Islamabad also released a video which exposed the false statements of New Delhi that IAF fighters targeted the camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and killed 350 militants.

Following the false flag Pulwama terror attack in the Indian Held Kashmir (IHK), which killed 44 Indian soldiers—Islamist militant group JeM claimed responsibility soon for the car suicide attack, New Delhi provoked Islamabad through the so-called surgical strike.

Without any investigation and evidence Indian high officials and media started accusing Islamabad, saying that the attackers had come from Pakistan to stage the assault.

However, various contradictory developments and reports proved that Pulwama terror attack was a false flag operation, conducted by New Delhi to malign Islamabad in order to obtain various anti-Pakistan designs.

During the press briefing on February 26, 2019, India Foreign Secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale called the strikes on Pakistani soil “non-military preemptive action”. He refused to answer questions by the media, as he could not show any proof in this respect.

Western media disclosed that India failed in providing any evidence or video in relation to her claim of killing 350 militants inside Pakistani side of Kashmir. While Islamabad acted responsibly by releasing Indian captured pilot as “a gesture of peace”, as stated by country’s Prime Minister Imran Khan.

It is mentionable that India’s 21 opposition parties and famous figures, chief ministers of Delhi, Bengal, puppet chief minister of IoK, civil society groups and artists criticized the Prime Minister Narendar Modi for continuing his scheduled public events, including an election rallies, while staying mum amid a major military stand-off with Pakistan. However, it shows Indian diplomatic defeat. Besides these internal entities of India and even the leaders of extremist ruling party-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other similar outfits severely criticized Modi’s false strategic claims regarding Pakistan.

Meanwhile, in a rare joint press conference by the top brass of the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force on February 28, 2019, the top military officers also presented evidence that Pakistan had AMRAAM missiles mounted on its American-made F-16 fighter jets to target Indian military installations. Concealing ground realities, the press briefing by the Indian military’s high officials appeared to be an apology of the highest order, clueless and confused. They had no answers to the questions of the journalists and even no proof of claimed damage in Balakot strike was presented. They could not supply any evidence of JeM camp and killing of 350 terrorists. The air force officer stated that he cannot comment on it and left it to the civil government. Similarly, no evidence of Pakistani F-16 which they claimed was shot down could be presented in the briefing. While, they confirmed aerial strikes of Pakistan on the Indian Controlled Kashmir by displaying fragments from a missile they claimed matched the Pakistani F-16 fighter jet that purportedly crossed into Indian airspace and was shot down.

Pakistan was quick to claim that it did not use F-16s in the attack and that it had lost no aircraft. Nevertheless, one of the pictures released by Pakistan showed wreckage of the MiG-21 fighter.

Failed in providing any proof, New Delhi has continued false strategic narratives that IAF shoot down Pakistan’s F-16 during aerial fight. In this regard, Indian military shared radar images, asserting that it has “irrefutable evidence” of shooting down F-16. Indian air force’s much-anticipated press conference failed to present “irrefutable evidence” which could challenge Islamabad’s firm stand about Pakistan’s F-16.

On the other side, ISPR spokesman invited America to send a team to count the number of F-16 aircraft, which would expose Indian false strategic narrative.

Nonetheless, the gist of the conference was IAF’s claim that they have the ‘evidence’, but they cannot share it, expecting people to take their word for it.  This indicates that the press conference was less about providing evidence and more about fighting the war of narratives that ISPR is currently winning.

While, the fact is that the Pentagon and the US Department of Defense never categorically refuted Islamabad’s claim which means that India did not score a hit. The real war now is the war of narratives and India is desperately trying to cover its embarrassment. Moreover, as to why India did not ask the Pentagon (Pakistan has lot of haters there) that the US did not carry out a count of Pak F-16 fleet?  All the articles coming out of major American policy and news outlet indicate that the US establishment is not endorsing P.M Modi false strategic narratives.

It is expected that the ISPR will share some hard evidence anytime soon to decimate India’s data on the paper and embarrass India further. It will have serious implications on Indian politics; Modi’s bid to get elected, civil military relations in India and the country’s image abroad.

It is of particular attention that Indian Prime Minister Modi’s extremist party BJP had got a land sliding triumph in the Indian elections 2014 on the basis of anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan slogans. Therefore, since the Prime Minister Modi came to power, he has been implementing anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan agenda with the support of fanatic coalition outfits.

Now, again, Modi is creating war hysteria and jingoism among the Hindus against the Muslims and Pakistan as part of the BJP strategy to win the Indian general elections 2019. In this connection, assaults of Hindus on the Muslims and violations of LoC by shelling inside Pakistani side of Kashmir have been accelerated.

Taking cognizance of Indian war-mongering diplomacy, Pakistan’s armed forces are on high alert especially along the LoC and are prepared to deal with any Indian aggression.

We can conclude that so as to divert the attention of the international community from the Indian security forces’ state terrorism which have been intensified on the innocent Kashmiris and to avoid the settlement of Kashmir issue with Pakistan and as part of the election-strategy, P.M. Modi can take the risk of conventional war with Pakistan, which could be culminated into nuclear war.Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Email: sajjad_logic

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