Indian Jets Strike on Pakistani Side of Kashmir Line:
Indian warplanes conducted airstrikes in the Pakistan-controlled side of Kashmir on Tuesday, Pakistani officials said, in an escalation of tensions between the nuclear-armed nations after a suicide bombing against Indian troops in the disputed region this month.
If confirmed, it would be the first time that Indian aircraft had crossed the Kashmir Line of Control to strike in years. But it was unclear what, if anything, the attack jets hit on the Pakistani side, raising the possibility that India was making a calculated bet to assuage public anger but minimize the risk of a major Pakistani military response.
Curious about value-add thoughts….
22 thoughts on “The airstrikes”
Too little, too late….ok, maybe it is not too late but it is a token gesture… ergo, get serious!
The news has thrown Indian family whatsapp groups in a tizzy. Have been seeing a serious flurry of activity in mine since early morning. Generally cousins/siblings who are settled in the West (US, Germany, Aus, UK) seem to be the least impressed by it. The ones in Near East (Dubai) and in N India (mainly around Delhi, J&K etc) are most impressed and self-congratulatory.
My own take is that it is quite probable Indians did penetrate 70-80 kms from LOC into Pakistan proper, i.e. not just Pakistan-occupied (or administrated etc) Kashmir, which is according to Indian law Indian territory, but the sovereign territory of the Pakistani state.
However, it is just as likely that Indians kicked far more dirt than asses. The ass:dirt ratio was small enough to ensure de-escalation (and face-saving by Pak) but enough for domestic consumption. Key takeaways:
a) Indians have opened a new way to retaliate under the nuclear umbrella,
b) Indians showed Pakistani military defences up – a major embarrassment for the military-controlled/led state
c) This is more to show Indians can act (and good advertisement for the Modi gov in the upcoming elections) than worth much meaningful impact on the violence in the Kashmir Valley or LOC.
What we’re seeing with the photos and invitations for journalists to the eponymous locale in POK is laying the grounds for plausible deniability. I imagine its in the Indian Governments advantage to let this play out and not aggravate the situation with evidence of strikes in KP…
It’s actually looking like the Pak narrative is more or less true, and Indian forces bombed an empty field.
Still significant that India would up the terms of engagement to such a level.
I really doubt that the pak narrative is right.
The problem is we know the Indian claim is false (350 casualties is nowhere near possible).
Based on the last incident (in the wake of Uri I believe) the Pak narrative ended up being relatively close to the truth (maybe a dozen casualties), while the initial sensationalist Indian claim (nearly 100 casualties) was far off.
Its also instructive that in the Uri incident, with much less alleged casualties and media visibility, Pak was comfortable admitting to casualties (if slightly underestimated).
The fact that they are doubling down now to say nothing at all was hit, when such a claim would be easily falsifiable, makes it likely their version is more or less true.
As always, these incidents between Pak and India are more about nationalistic consumption for each country, rather than serious attempts at doing damage.
“Its also instructive that in the Uri incident, with much less alleged casualties and media visibility, Pak was comfortable admitting to casualties”
Can you point a Pakistani news report where they have officially admitted to Uri casualties?
“Pakistani” and “officially” being the operative words here.
The day after the incident Pakistan officially claimed 2 of its soldiers were killed and 9 injured. Later independent investigations agree that less then a dozen Pakistanis ended up being killed in the Indian raid. The Indians on the other hand floated estimates generally ranging from 50-70 (with 80 being the highest).
Based on what we know now, its unlikely more than 20-30 people were killed by the Indian airstrikes yesterday. Reports indicate most of the bombs fell in empty fields, and one may have struck a madrassa complex, but that it was largely empty due to the time of night.
Its a little bizarre to me that that most Indians appear to actually believe 200-350 Pakistanis were killed in these strikes. The pro-war-hysteria is also a bit worrying, though this could be because most Indians don’t live near the border, and don’t feel the danger an actual war would bring.
India’s hyperbole might be as much about giving Pakistani state a face saving out as it is for domestic consumption.
This is not a good move. Airstrikes into Pakistani territory (whether in Azad Kashmir or otherwise) risks escalation from Pakistan. This is not going to solve the underlying problem. At best, it can diffuse Indians’ anger by providing an immediate catharsis. Hopefully sanity will prevail.
I think these things are just temporary , the current Govt of India is lead by a party which has decided to play this high stakes game of nationalism. Its rewarding as well as quite dangerous FOR them only.
This is quite unlike the opposition which neither plays this game, nor is interested in national security stuff, so it expects no reward in return. That’s why Congress party could shrug off 2008 Mumbai attacks because no one really expected them to do anything . Indians(unlike popularly perceived now) in general don’t really care much about nationalism or national security anyways.
I fully expect a opposition lead by the Congress and other parties from South and East(who have a different view on Pakistan) reverting back to the original “red lines” ( do nothing mostly) in the near future once they come back to power.
So we revert back to older status quo.
I think this is just to establish a new status quo. Basically to demonstrate the relative progress India has made over Pakistan since 1999.
The next such step jump might be 15-20 years down the line.
Disagree India WILL revert back to the older do-nothing mode once the opposition is in power. That has nothing to do with national/anti national thing . It would just mirror the priorities of the ethnicity/community which would constitute the opposition. That is true for the current Govt as well.
Elections are still a few months away. Meanwhile, Pakistan has already stated it will respond to India’s attack on our territory. As happens in such cases, all political parties are lining up behind the armed forces. Escalation is just going to get messy for everyone, which is why this is a such a dangerous scenario.
Is it Balakot in Pakistani Kashmir or Balakot in Khaibar Pakhtunkhwa?
If it is really the KP town, then it means Indian Jets flew in almost 80 km into officially Pakistani territory.
More than anything else, it raises huge questions about Pakistani air defence capabilities.
If conspiracy theorists are to be believed, this is all stage managed drama. Kind of WWF wrestling matches. Pakistan was persuaded by a certain “prince” charming to let Indian Jets come in and vent their anger on some empty forest land.
Indian public is placated. Pakistan can also claim victory saying that a minor incursion was thwarted by their alert airforce. Mission accomplished, prince goes on to China to do some more sightseeing. Nothing really changes on the ground.
I have no opinion on this theory 🙂 Make your own judgement.
Well its old, a version of this theory existed post 2008 Mumbai attacks as well. Only the prince at that time was USA, and perhaps that time sounded more “believable ” because a very weak Govt was heading Pakistan at that time.
But we all know from which quarters this conspiracy theory is coming from now, don’t we? 😛
I can almost visualize the scene – “Come on brother, all you will need to do is to fill up some craters and plant back some trees, and I will give you TWENTY billion dollars for it. Deal?”
I would be extremely surprised if MBS had any role in this.
Very likely India was aware that these camps were not being actively used. This was a measured demonstration by Indians that they can penetrate and strike if they wish to. The claim of 350+ casualties on the part of India is likely very inflated, just as zero casualties on the part of Pakistan is a gross understatement. Very unfortunate that this had to come right before elections in India.
Just enough action on the part of India to alarm Pakistan and perhaps China which is pouring funds into CPEC. But not enough to set off a conflagration, assuming wiser heads prevail.
Pakistan has already retaliated by supposedly shooting down Indian planes. This is why escalation is so dangerous.
Everybody needs to calm down.
The funniest thing is everyone on twitter on both sides on the high horse exclaiming “Dont escalate, think about the wider region”. LOL. As if this has ever stopped either of us from doing anything.
Pakistani army shot down two Indian planes? Ok, we are serious now.
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