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Botched IAF Airstrike of 2019

ISLAMABAD: Years after the IAF botched attempt to launch an attack on the territory inside Pakistan on 26th Feb, 2019 that left behind the wreckage of two IAF aircraft, the humiliation at the hands of PAF still haunt the IAF.

This exposes Prime Minister Modi’s Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) hysteria driven war mongering policies before the world.

The airstrike inside Pakistan following a false flag operation at Pulwama on 14th Feb, 2019, was responded with surprising retaliation by PAF bringing down two IAF aircraft, establishing the military and technological superiority of the PAF and shattered to pieces the myth of Indian military might.

On 14 February 2019, a young Kashmiri boy, resenting Indian oppression of the Kashmiri people, drove a vehicle packed with explosives into a convoy of 78 buses carrying Indian paramilitary police in Pulwama, killing 40 CRPF personnel.

Moments after the attack the Indian media and Modi’s government immediately blamed Pakistan before even the start of any investigation and created media hype.

According to defense analysts, India staged Pulwama incident by callously killing its own soldiers which was fanned by media hype.

The Indian Air Force launched an aerial strike near ‘Balakot’ on Feb 26, 2019, claiming to target a religious seminary that New-Delhi described as a “militant camp”.

They also claimed killing more than 300 terrorists but without sharing any shred of evidence to corroborate the claims.

The well-rehearsed operation involving 20 Mirage 2,000 aircraft carrying spice 2000 and Crystal Maze missiles had the support of Air Borne Early Warning systems.

They failed to deliver their payload on the target despite practising on the simulator and pre-fed coordinates on the bombs.

Pulwama attack was completely orchestrated, the defense analysts said, questioning that contrary to the usual practice why there were no road inspecting parties to look for buried IEDs/ suspicious movement along the highway the convoy used.

“Why didn’t the authorities understand that a large convoy (78 buses) would be a tempting target? CRPF had asked the home ministry to allow it to fly the soldiers to Srinagar but why the request was inexplicably declined,” said the analyst.

They further posed the question as to how it was possible that the Indian home ministry took this decision (declining airlifting soldiers) on its own without referring it to PM Office.

On other hand, PM Modi wanted to achieve electoral gains which were then scheduled for April/ May 2019 as was evident from his Pakistan bashing fiery speeches during the election campaign.

A hyper-nationalist and religiously indoctrinated political party that spewed fascism and xenophobia would take some ‘punitive’ measures and use the incident as an electoral card since Indian general elections were to be held on that year, the analysts added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Feb 15, 2019, was quoted by the Financial Times as saying that those responsible for Pulwama terror attack would pay “a very heavy price” and security forces would be given a free hand to deal with them.

In a hard-hitting speech, he said the “blood of the people is boiling” and forces behind the act of terrorism will be definitely be punished.

“Security forces have been given complete freedom, the blood of the people is boiling…

“Our neighboring country, which has been isolated internationally, thinks such terror attacks can destabilise us, but their plans will not materialise,” Modi said in an attempt to create hype over the well-orchestrated plan against Pakistan.

Indian claims were rubbished by several international observers saying there were no casualties and the bombs had clearly missed the target as two trees were found to be snapped in half.

During the short aerial encounter that followed, PAF shot down two IAF aircraft and captured one of the pilots.

The debris of the SU-30 fell in IOK and its pilot was killed, while the MiG-21 pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, whose aircraft fell on the Pakistan side was captured alive.

The success of the Pakistan Air Force in Operation Swift Retort against a far bigger adversary is now observed as a “Surprise Day” every year.


M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.