During the course of a few months, India’s claim about the Balakot air strike lost traction in the proportion that the truth gained ground, vindicating Pakistan’s position on the issue. Pulwama is an incident that was made a base for endangering regional peace and stability, however, time proved India’s claims regarding the Balakot air strike as false. India’s Minister for External Affairs’ statement that ‘no Pakistani soldier or citizen died in the air strike carried out by the Indian Air Force across the border in response to the Pulwama terror attack in February’ came as a contradiction to India’s initial claim of violating Pakistan’s airspace in a successful air strike, causing heavy casualties.
The spokesperson of Pakistan Armed Forces said in response to India’s Minister for External Affairs’ confession that the truth had finally been revealed because of the ground reality compulsions. And that hopefully the same will ensue for other false claims such as the surgical strike in 2016, denial of shooting down of two IAF jets by PAF and the claim about shooting down an F-16.
India’s claim of shooting down an F-16 fighter jet were also debunked by the U.S. defence officials. As per a report by the Foreign Policy Magazine, the count conducted by U.S. defence authorities on ground negated India’s version of events. The report also suggested that the Indian authorities may have misled the international community regarding the events of that day.
Earlier in March, satellite images by a San Francisco-based private satellite operator, that were reviewed by Reuters had already negated India’s version of events. The images had shown how the building in Balakot was still standing and was virtually unchanged from an April 2018 satellite image, showing no sign of an aerial attack.
The ground reality was uncovered when a foreign delegation comprising journalists, ambassadors and defence attachés of various countries visited Balakot on April 10, 2019 where India claimed to have carried out the air strike. The delegation freely interacted with the locals and was shown bomb craters from the air strike in open space, which further corroborated Pakistan’s account.
Despite the Indian Election Commission’s advisory asking the political parties to refrain from indulging in political propaganda involving activities of defence forces related to Pak-India tensions following the Pulwama attack during the campaign, Prime Minister Modi with his desire for self-aggrandizement was quoted as saying in an election rally, "I want to ask the first-time voters: can your first vote be dedicated to the soldiers [who carried out the air strike in Pakistan]? Can your first vote be dedicated to the soldiers [killed in] Pulwama?" That and other such statements make it evident that extremist Indian leadership hopes to retain its popularity through exploiting hyper-nationalism even though the veracity of these events from India’s lens is questionable as it failed to present any evidence to corroborate its accusations against Pakistan and the preponderance of evidence suggests otherwise.
Pakistan’s concerns about the belligerent posture – which has been articulated on several occasions – and hostility emanating from the eastern border have been further compounded by the recent use of Indian territory for the training of a terrorist who masterminded the Sri Lanka Easter blasts.
Conversely, Pakistan’s desire of maintaining peace in the region must be realized but in the event of any misadventure or aggression from our adversary we shall respond in the same coin. It is time to reap dividends of peace for the people of the two countries and the region where countless millions still live in abject poverty.
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