Balakot – The Western Media Hogwash

By Palepu Ravi Shankar



The Western Media Hogwash
There is a WhatsApp message floating around which contains the views of New York Times, Washington Post, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Jane’s Information Group and Gulf News on the recent Balakot Strike. I do not know if the contents are authentic. This analysis is based on the premise it is true. If not; this is countering ISPR propaganda with some hard truth for Indian consumption. The sum and essence of the float is that we struck a deserted camp, Mr Modi had to show some demonstrative results prior to elections, the strike missed the target etc. The international media has dissected it. They are not buying India’s strike story. Well Well! We are talking of the same international media which dissected, bought and peddled the non-existent WMD story to the world. And of course, led a superpower and its poodle across the pond, into a war to destroy a nation. The same international media which glorified Pack-istan as its frontline state when it created the Mujahideen and followed it up with that Frankenstein called OBL? The same international media which dissected the role of ISI in the untimely but spectacular collapse of the twin towers and declared it innocent so that it could be nominated for the Nobel peace Prize? The same media which will pat their respective countries on their backs and clap gleefully when USA declares victory in Afghanistan. Will they also edify the pious role of Pack-istan and the good samaritaans in ISI and ISPR in aiding their dissection of the Balakot strikes?

Sounds of Silence
Have the dissectors heard the” Sounds of Silence (chup)” from the otherwise virulently vocal elements in Srinagar? Or have they never heard about Simon and Garfunkel’s all time classic? Why were they never given a conducted beer and lunch site tour of the Balakot Air Strike Failure by the normally hyperventilating ISPR who never misses a trick? They probably never had to do that since they probably had an Oxford return analyst in Balakot to fill them in on our collective national failure. They just insinuated that Mr Modi, Gen Rawat, Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa and Admiral Lanba and my fantastic uniformed comrades, under their respective commanders are an incompetent lot who do not know their jobs. Well my dissectors, they are the guys in whose hands I will place my life in. Not because of some fealty but because I know them well. Whatever they are, they are not idiots in the “MAD” class to put 12 Mirage Pilots’ life at risk on a midnight mission to bomb a deserted camp deep in Pakistan. They are guys of high intelligence. I can vouch for it since the time the uniformed troika and I wore knickers and front rolled in NDA together (four decades back). In any case there were better ways to do firepower demonstrations. Please humour me and permit me to do a military analysis as taught to me by the Indian Armed Forces.

Military Analysis
Let us assume for a moment that the Balakot strikes were in thin air. Everything we did was demonstrative and ineffective. Fine. Despite their tactical failure, the Balakot Strikes have clearly demonstrated the following: –

  • India is fed up of these national assets of Pack-istan – LET, JEM and HM etc etc. We will get them if they set up shop across – LOC or no LOC. I think India has come to the stage of playing the rationality- irrationality game. Try it out.
  • For some time now all terrorist incubators will leave the area and will be loath to come back into this belt. If they must operate it will be well from the interior. That implies longer lines of control resulting in lesser effectiveness. Gives India a window to sort things out.
  • Pakistani stooges in the Valley are now under a heavy scanner. Believe you me their space to operate will be reduced. No more hot lines to Pakistan. Their funding will be cut off. You see the national resolve has just gone up by a notch. Sitting in Chennai, I have been wondering why I should soft pedal and pussy foot around a pampered Kashmiri at the expense and hard work of the rest of my fellow Indians.
  • You might not find the Kashmiris themselves that receptive to overtures from across the LOC. Distance sharpens your perspective. This incident has put India and Pakistan in a one to one mode. India might not allow Pakistan to play through the militancy game indirectly any more. I am sure a time bound retribution plan is being worked by someone in Delhi for every incident which happens in India.
  • The Pulwama strike and the one on Iranian Army has given enough room for us to cooperate with each other. What is it called militarily? Pincer? Of course, Pakistani room in Afghanistan is going to shrink. A retaliatory strike from Iran has not yet materialized. I do hope Pakistan has a hardy GOC 12 Corps.
  • The Abbottabad and surrounding areas are clearly going to be in everyone’s surveillance. That includes China. Their flag ship CPEC is in and around this area in a disputed territory. If there is a terrorist incubator around, I doubt if there will be any discussion. So? Action?
  • For a moment one should not think military options are off the table. The range and depth of strikes has enlarged. That too well below the threshold of the crown jewels of Pakistan.
  • One of the steps which the GOI should be contemplating after this is to declare some of the naughty guys as wanted DOA a la OBL. Then they are fair game. If one of them is knocked off in Pakistan, will the Deep State launch a nuclear attack on India? India also knows the art of deniability which Pakistan has taught us. But then Pervez Musharraf’s prediction might come true if they raise the stakes.
  • India will make Pakistan spend some of the money they do not have. If these actions continue, I wonder who will part with their money to bail out Pakistan? The gold-plated weapon gifted presented to MBS must have cost a packet which Pakistan does not have.

I am sure all those Western intellectuals have read my poor reasoning. I am only an individual expressing an opinion. The official thinking will be very calibrated and more lethal. One can wonder – what can India do? What was Balakot? National Resolve. Even if 50% of this comes through Pakistan will crack. As it is, they have closed down their airports. Worried about an Entebbe type of operation to destroy the crown jewels? One of these days the Western Naval Fleet might take a sail into the Arabian Sea innocently. What’s next. Closure of Karachi Port? Then that little stock exchange will pack up and tell you where Pakistan is going financially.

The Moral
My fellow Indians, please do not fall for these hollow analyses. I also think the time has come for us to do things on our own. There is already a subtle shift. People are already wondering what the next kinetic action is. In any case we do not handle conflicts on journalistic opinions – International or National. Let the journalists report and do their trick. The Government and the Armed Forces will act as per the situation. I am confident of that; irrespective of the colour of their uniforms we are all Team India.

My guess is that the deep state is plying its dirty trade of perception management. Remember even in that they are not good. Yesterday their PM came on air and said that two Indian aircraft were shot down and that they have two Indian Pilots. Later it became one aircraft and one pilot. Where is the second? Was he the F16 pilot and was it the F16 they were talking about? I think so. I do hope that brave pilot has not been too seriously injured or beaten black and blue by their villagers. I wish him good recovery.

Let us look at the real deal. Pakistan took Wg Cdr Abhinandan as a POW. Videos of manhandling him went viral. Videos of his being questioned went viral. Pakistan paraded him in media; against Geneva Conventions. However, what came through was an Indian Armed Officer’s poise, steel and bravery.

Pakistan took a POW and returned to us a National Hero.

Thank you for the viral videos.
He will be a national icon for a long time to come.

The moral of this story.
Pakistanikku thakudal aarambika therium. Mudika theriyadu.
(Pakistan is very good at conflict initiation but poor at conflict termination).
Media is a very potent two-sided weapon.
Abhi tak nahi samjhe?

One upright officer despite being ill-treated has morally terminated this sub conflict in India’s favour. Even Pakistani twitter handles went gaga over that!
Well done young man. We are proud of you and your parents.

My dear Western Media.
I would suggest that you recommend to your respective countries to train their officers as we have done. They will be Role Models anywhere and everywhere.
Is that part of your analysis or Officers and Gentlemen exist only in the West?

The Pakistan Army lost half the nation five decades back.
It is sincerely attempting to do so with the remaining half now.

Jai hind

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