What proof the Opposition is asking for? That the Indian Air Force air strike on Jaish-e- Mohammad on February 26 did not damage the training centers and hideout of the terrorist. There is a saying in Sanskrit: “Prtayakhsam Kim Pramanam” which translated roughly into English means what is visible does not require any proof. The satellite imagery of the devastation caused to the structure in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir is clear proof of our Air Force fighters hitting the target with 100 per cent precision which is also the official statement of the Indian Air Force. Are our Opposition leaders suspecting the veracity of the statement of IAF?
What the Opposition is questioning is how many or if any terrorist was killed in the operation. Well, one does not have to be an expert to know the fact that when fighter plane hit target the pilots or the camera in the aircraft can only tell if the target was hit or not but it can’t say how many people were there inside the structure who might have perished in the strike. This was made clear in no uncertain term by the Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on Monday, March 4 that “We don’t count casualties” and earlier by Air Vice Marshal Kapoor who said that “It is premature to say how many terrorists were killed in the operation”.
The Opposition leaders are crying hoarse over a number of casualties given by the BJP that approximately 250 terrorists who were present inside the building on February 26 in Balakot were killed in the operation. The figure was based on some intelligent input suggesting that so many terrorists were there at the time of the bombing of the building which was a training center for terrorists.
The sudden spurt of the statement being made by the Opposition leaders is based on reports appearing in the Western media. Leading newspapers like The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian have reported that though the air strike by the Indian Air Force devastated a few buildings and structures in Balakot there were no casualties. Al Jazeera and BBC sent their reporters to the field to report that there was no evidence of any casualties at the site of the attack and that only an old man was injured in the air strike on February 26 by the Indian Air Force fighter planes.
Let me remind the people that the Western Media carry some degree of bias against India while reporting conflict between India and Pakistan. This was evident even during the Indo-Pak war of 1965 and in 1971. I, as a war correspondent, was reporting the 1971 Indo-Pak war from across the border in the then East Pakistan. Even during 1971 war of liberation of East Pakistan, the Western Media was reporting with a bias against India. I wonder how the Opposition leaders have become so gullible to digest and accept the reports in the Western newspapers. In addition to newspapers reports, there are some organisations in the United States of America and in Australia that are giving images of the place a day before the air strike that is of February 25 and a day after the strike that is February 27 which show partial damage to some structure. In this age of digital technology videos and images can be fudged.
Leave aside the so-called evidence of ‘no damage’ or ‘total damage’ to Jaish structures in Balakot. The fact that Pakistan admitted that Indian fighters jets had crossed the Line of Control in Kashmir and that the fighter jets had dropped ‘payloads’ (bombs) in Balakot itself is the proof of successful operation by India to hit the terrorist hideout in PoK. Had there been no successful attack in Pok by India, the National Assembly of Pakistan would not have witnessed the slogan of “shame shame” by Parliamentarians of Pakistan against Prime Minister Imran Khan for the attack by India. It was after few decades that the Indian Air Force fighter jets had entered air space of Pakistan and hit the target well inside Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
One more proof that our Opposition leaders refuse to see and accept is retaliation by Pakistan Air Force jets which tried to bomb our military installation in Kashmir by dropping bombs but failed to cause any damage. The intruding Pak fighter jets were chased by the Indian Air Force planes. We were able to shoot down one F-16 fighter jet of Pakistan by Mig 21 Bison which was being flown by Wing Commander Abhinndan Varthaman who returned to India as the brave fighter. I don’t want to sound repetitive on our diplomatic victory over Pakistan which released our pilot Abhinandan within 48 hours of the air strike. Yet, the Opposition is making noises over the success of our operation in Pok.
Make no mistake. India is in full preparedness mode to meet any aggression from across the border. India is not an aggressor nation but we reserve our right to defend ourselves. Our Armed forces are prepared and ready to defeat enemy forces now and in the future.
(The writer is a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha)
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