Foreign journos expose loopholes in India’s Balakot airstrike propaganda | Pakistan Today

Foreign journos expose loopholes in India’s Balakot airstrike propaganda

The Indian government on Wednesday faced yet another humiliation as foreign journalists found fresh details negating New Delhi’s narrative on the India-Pakistan standoffs that took place over the last few weeks.

New York Times journalist Maria Abi-Habib has revealed that despite India’s assertion of Pakistan violating its F-16 sales agreement with the US, it might not be the case even if the jet was used to shoot down Indian aircraft on February 27 in a response to Indian aggression and war threats.

As details of the clash began emerging, India, besides complaining about the choice of Pakistan’s aircraft on the basis that it was a violation of a sales agreement with the US, claimed to have shot it down while exhibiting the remains of an AIM-120 missile to validate its claim.

Abi-Habib took to Twitter to point out loopholes in both of India’s grievance and self-proclaimed triumph.

“The US says if Pakistan used an F-16 to shoot down an Indian MiG, it may not have violated sale agreement,” she tweeted.

“They say if India entered Pakistani airspace for a second day, and Pakistan used the jet defensively, the contract wasn’t violated. But, if Pakistan used an F-16 to attack India first, then deal was violated,” she added.

The NYT’s South Asia correspondent said that US officials still do not have sufficient reason to believe that an F-16 was shot down by India, as claimed by IAF.

For the US to be cautious with the Indian version of last week’s events, despite its newfound fondness of India, “is very interesting”, Abi-Habib added.

Moreover, a report penned by Martin Howell, Gerry Doyle and Simon Scarr for Reuters marked another serious dent on India’s narrative of allegedly killing 300 militants in Balakot.

The report cited new high-resolution satellite images of the buildings and infrastructure showing that India’s assertion was nothing but a story pulled out of thin air.

The new image, produced by Planet Labs Inc, a San Francisco-based private satellite operator, showed that the “biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)” that the Indian Air Force claimed to have struck last week — which, according to locals, is a seminary for children — appears “to be still standing”.

The Reuters report said that according to the latest image it had acquired, when compared to an April 2018 satellite photo of the same area, the infrastructure remains “virtually unchanged”.

The news agency says that the development, to which India’s foreign and defence ministries did not respond to, casts further doubt on claims made by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the Indian Air Force had successfully hit all its intended targets.

Further, on a visit to the raid site a day after the incident, Reuters’ reporters had found some bomb craters and splintered pine trees but just one confirmed victim, who had a cut above his right eye.

“They say they wanted to hit some terrorists. What terrorists can you see here?” 62-year-old Nooran Shah told the agency. “We are here. Are we terrorists?”

Reuters’ findings were consistent with those of an Aljazeera representative’s. The Qatari publication’s reporter had found “splintered pine trees and rocks strewn across blast craters” but “no evidence of any building debris or casualties”.



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