The month of February has a distinctive significance in terms of the events that occurred in history and the ones that are currently taking place. Currently, it is witnessing a conflict between Russia and Ukraine. In February 2019, an exchange took place between India and Pakistan that escalated to the level of a small-scale war and ended with victory for Pakistan, when the PAF ruined aspirations of the Indian establishment and its defense forces to establish a new normal. The war-mongering attitude of India faced a shameful defeat on 27th February 2019, remembered as ‘Surprise day’.
When Indian CPRF personnel were attacked on 14th February 2019, killing 40 of them at Pulwama, the attack was immediately blamed on Pakistan without any proper investigation. The farce was later exposed when The Wire news disclosed WhatsApp chats between the CEO of Broadcast Audience Research Council and anchorperson Arnab Goswami. Indian media and Indian Intelligence had created a cacus belli using the blame game; India invaded Pakistan’s airspace on 26th February 2019 at night and the Indian fighter jets dropped their payloads in Pakistani territory for a swift escape. As a result, not more than 15 pine trees were damaged.
The response from Pakistan in the shape of operation Swift Retort was both comprehensive and proportional. Pakistani fighter jets crossed into Indian airspace and, in a dogfight, downed two Indian fighter jets. The air raid from Pakistan also locked sensitive sites inside India but the bombs were not dropped on the actual targets, with careful maneuvers. An Indian fighter pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan, was forced to eject after his jet was shot and he was captured by Pakistan Army. The outcomes of the operation were mind-boggling. They clarified the abilities and will of Pakistan’s armed forces, while also showing the incompetence of Indian defense equipment and its flawed human resource.
The Indian establishment tried to hide the international embarrassment faced at the hands of Pakistan, with a massive disinformation campaign. They spread fake news that Abhinandan had shot down an F-16. It was later affirmed by the US that all Pakistani F-16s were accounted for and none were missing. The misadventure of the Indian establishment brought international disgrace to its people and was later blamed on the lack of modern fighter aircraft.
The Indians have tried to make such events a new normal. Such misadventures of India have become a norm that is covertly meant for providing the sitting government with political gains. The parliament attack in 2001, the Mumbai attack in 2008, the Pathankot attack in 2016, and all such related events were part of a strategic maneuver executed by Indian governments to rally the sentiments of Indian people towards increasing their vote bank. India has put regional stability and international peace at stake multiple times for a populist image, defying the notion of peace and stability. Such an approach for mere political gains can bring chaos not only to the region but also the whole world.
Modi used Balakot airstrikes as a maneuver for his election campaign. While addressing a rally in Ausa in Maharashtra’s Latur, Modi said: “Can your first vote be dedicated to those who carried out the air strike?” He further added: “I want to tell the first –time voters: can your first vote be dedicated to the veer jawans (valiant soldiers) who carried out the air strike in Pakistan. Can your first vote be dedicated to the veer Shaheed (brave martyrs) of Pulwama”.
Another reason to use falsehood as a tool of statecraft was to divert the attention of the international community from Indian atrocities being perpetuated against Muslims in Kashmir and in other parts of the country. The domestic challenges, mainly the disputes between the ethnic groups, are kept hidden using disinformation. In this way the Indian army and PM Modi colluded to create fiction and a hero for their general public.
The current Indian government, in keeping with the extremist ideology of Hindutva has made the region a hub of rivalry and a nuclear flashpoint. The fallacious Indian belief of becoming the regional hegemon while having a war-loving approach has put international peace under serious threat. Pakistan on the other hand has always followed a defensive approach by making sure that every Indian aggression must be reciprocated with a similar proactive response while staying under the threshold.
The sinister designs of the Indian establishment are a reason of worry for the international community. Operation Swift Retort was a major blow for them. The loopholes in the procurement process of defense equipment and the flawed human resource is a major concern for the Indian forces. They have realized that they are far below the level of proficiency that Pakistan’s armed forces possess. This realization has further threatened the stability-instability paradox of the region because of the heavy investment by India in defense procurements promoting militarization.
All the aforementioned Indian efforts to jeopardize international peace have been proven with solid evidence. The EU DisinfoLab report is one such proof that discloses the Indian endeavors to spread disinformation against its enemies, mainly Pakistan and China. Such irresponsible attempts to vandalize its peaceful neighbors have serious consequences. The international community must put in efforts to make India realize its mistakes, in order to bring peace to the region.