[Let's recap. I. On the last Feb. 14, no less than than 40 CRPF jawans got killed, in Pulwama, on account of an act of suicide bombing by a local Kashmiri youth - travelling in a vehicle driven by him, rather recently recruited to a terrorist organisation (ref.: < https://in.reuters.com/article/india-kashmir-bomber/kashmir-suicide-bomber-radicalised-after-beating-by-troops-parents-say-idINKCN1Q41M2>), Jaish-e Mohammad, headquarterd in Pakistan. It was by far the severest attack (ref.: < https://www.indiaspend.com/as-car-bomb-kills-44-crpf-troopers-94-rise-in-death-toll-of-security-forces-in-jk-in-4-years/>), in terms of loss of lives, that too of uniformed men, in decades. It, apparently, indicates a serious security lapse on the Indian side (ref.: < https://drive.google.com/file/d/11yDBhr-n9Ue9OFBwwZnQk7sngnDFnud-/view> and < https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/pulwama-attack-not-a-one-man-job-took-place-due-to-security-lapse-says-ex-raw-chief_in_5c6a1792e4b033a79943c18d >).
II. Twelve days thereafter, on February 26, India launched missile attack within Pakistani territory, beyond the disputed zone, in Balakot in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The attack would first be announced by Pakistan - asserting no meaningful damage (ref: <https://twitter.com/OfficialDGISPR/status/1100251560985145346> and < https://thewire.in/security/indian-planes-were-inside-pakistan-for-just-four-minutes-pak-army-claims>) and then by India, claimimg hitting of the biggest JeM training camp resulting in death of a large number of terrorists (ref.: < https://twitter.com/ANI/status/1100278675763798017> and < https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/air-strike-on-jaish-camp-in-pak-full-text-of-foreign-secretarys-statement/articleshow/68164724.cms>). (Ref. also: < https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/25/world/asia/india-pakistan-kashmir-jets.html >.) The Indian claim of hitting "target" was just not trashed by Pakistan but would also be negated by independent foreign analysts, based on analyses of satellite imageries (ref.: < https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-kashmir-pakistan-airstrike-insi/satellite-images-show-madrasa-buildings-still-standing-at-scene-of-indian-bombing-idUSKCN1QN00V?fbclid=IwAR2vqhJhxSSEX_BeykMZxwWetYsa6-y8_W4i3wItuNMaoZbfjIpU9_7Wqoo> and < https://medium.com/dfrlab/surgical-strike-in-pakistan-a-botched-operation-7f6cda834b24 >). Also by foreign journalists (ref.: < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xtXnS9Fw6g&feature=share>, < https://www.dailyo.in/politics/iaf-airstrike-on-jaish-camp-in-balakot-satellite-images-asif-ghafoor-international-media-real-photos/story/1/29796.html> and < https://www.news18.com/news/world/pakistan-takes-media-to-balakot-air-strike-site-curtails-interactions-2096733.html >. *Quite interestingly, the claims of damage, by the representatives of the GoI and the ruling party varied widely, wildly oscillating between zero and 400* (ref.: <https://twitter.com/myogiadityanath/status/1100787313330728960> and < https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/ashanka-what-happens-in-balakot-stays-in-balakot/cid/1686249 >). III. The next morning, on Feb. 27th, Pakistan, sort of, reciprocated the Indian move, carrying out an aerial attack breaching the LoC. The outcome was matter of controversy. Pakistan claimed to down two Indian fighter jets and India claimed downing one Pak fighter jet. The Indian claim was, again, rather unsurprisingly, outright rejected by Pakistan, but, also would be, sort of, negated by a prestigious American journal (ref.: < https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/04/04/did-india-shoot-down-a-pakistani-jet-u-s-count-says-no/?fbclid=IwAR1VEhAkoBQklAMEpdodFq-ZSh9ToILRpspTjp2wP7GTLUFgKR0IatlAshQ >). (Also relevant: < https://www.boomlive.in/the-mysterious-tale-of-paf-wing-commander-shahzaz-ud-din/> and < https://www.newslaundry.com/2019/03/05/why-claims-about-the-paf-pilots-lynching-dont-add-up >.) India, in turn, rejected the Pak claim of downing a second Indian aircraft. What, however, came out undisputed is that India lost a fighter jet with pilot captured by Pakistan, who would be released two days thereafter. (Ref.: < https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/from-pulwama-terror-attack-to-wg-cmdr-abhinandans-release-a-timeline/article26423658.ece >.) IV. For a comprehensive account and reasoned analysis of the whole episode: < https://scroll.in/article/918686/opinion-on-balakot-and-after-real-mystery-is-how-the-indian-response-has-been-touted-as-a-triumph?fbclid=IwAR0QxrawU6JG2kfhIhW25MRabQwjYtIV-BHei8MAXUbEPV2ryrV5pm-i2P8 >. V. What, however, needs be highlighted here that on Feb. 22, in Washington, the US President had observed, after his meeting with a visiting Chinese trade delegation: “*India is looking at something very strong* [emphasis added]. And I mean, India just lost almost 50 people with an attack. So, I could understand that also." He'd also further add: “We are talking and a lot of people are talking. But, it is a very, very delicate balance going on right now. There’s a lot of problems between India and Pakistan because of what just happened ... We’re very much involved in that ... It’s a terrible thing going on right now between Pakistan and India... it is a very, very bad situation and it’s a very dangerous situation between the two countries. We would like to see it stopped." (Ref.: < https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/trump-says-india-looking-at-something-very-strong-after-pulwama-attack/article26348183.ece >.) On the following 26th, India would launch the Balakot air-strike. On Feb. 28th, Trump, in Hanoi, said: “*We have reasonably attractive news from Pakistan and India. They have been going at it and we have been involved trying to have them stop.* [Emphasis added.] We have some reasonably decent news. I think hopefully that it’s going to come to an end ... There has been a lot of dislike, unfortunately. So we have been in the middle trying to help them out, see if there is some organisation and peace. I think that is probably going to happen soon now.* (Ref.: < https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-pakistan-tensions-to-end-soon-have-reasonably-decent-news-donald-trump-5604820/> and < https://c-6rtwjumjzx7877x24nrl-x78-rx78s-htrx2efpfrfnejix2esjy.g01.msn.com/g00/3_c-6bbb.rx78s.htr_/c-6RTWJUMJZX77x24myyux78x3ax2fx2fnrl-x78-rx78s-htr.fpfrfneji.sjyx2fyjsfsyx2ffrux2fjsynydnix2fGGZgTa5.nrlx3fmx3d119x26bx3d279x26rx3d1x26vx3d15x26tx3dkx26qx3dkx26cx3d793x26dx3d13x26n65h.rfwpx3dnrflj_$/$/$/$/$ >.) Later, the same day, the Pak Prime Minister Imran Khan announced the decision to release the captured Indian Pilot the next day, by way of addressing a joint session of the National Assembly. (Ref.: < https://youthdarpan.com/world-news/indian-pilot-to-be-freed-friday-as-peace-gesture-says-pakistan-prime-minster-imran-khan/ >.) The tensions got very palpably defused. The conclusion becomes, thereby, almost inescapable that as in 1999, in the wake of Kargil war (ref.: < http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/05/14/the-story-of-how-nawaz-sharif-pulled-back-from-nuclear-war/> and < https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/WCPD-1999-07-12/pdf/WCPD-1999-07-12-Pg1278.pdf>), the subcontinent escaped a looming nuclear apocalypse, by the skin of teeth, on account of forceful external interventions. VI. Getting back to the Balakot, and its immediate aftermath, the write-up reproduced below shows up that it was because of "friendly fire" that an IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter got downed during this period, on Feb. 27, resulting in loss of precious lives of six IAF personnel and a civilian on the ground. The report of the coirt of inquiry is deliberately held back, to sustain a false narrative of euphoria. (Ref., e.g.: 'This election is about taking revenge for martyrs, says (BJP President Amit) Shah' at < https://indianexpress.com/elections/lok-sabha-election-amit-shah-bjp-pulwama-balakot-narendra-modi-5697034/?fbclid=IwAR2bWec32zeCHBLX3KJolAa3pmxPt2GQzprBP-EpHvhBG6CYSNKZW6hWmHo >.) *VII. But, the stark fact remains that at the end of the day, India has lost one fighter jet, with its pilot having been captured by the enemy and then released, and, also, another helicopter, resulting in the loss of seven lives, including those of six IAF personnel.* *With nothing, just nothing, to show in return.* *In the process, the subcontinent faced the very real threat of extinction via nuclear apocalypse, which it could narrowly escape, thanks to external interventions.* The Indian Air Force (IAF) has been told to keep on hold the findings of a “court of inquiry” (CoI) that has conclusively determined that an IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter was shot down by an Indian missile battery that was guarding Srinagar air base. A senior helicopter pilot, of the rank of air commodore, heads the CoI. Six IAF personnel and a civilian on the ground died in that “friendly fire” incident on February 27. Top IAF sources say the incident happened after officers from the ground missile battery misidentified the IAF chopper as a Pakistani aircraft on a mission to attack Srinagar. The disaster took place the day after IAF fighters had struck a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorist camp in Pakistan to retaliate against a JeM suicide bomb attack 12 days earlier, which killed over 40 Indian troopers in Pulwama, near Srinagar. The CoI has found that, with IAF and army units across Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) in a state of hair-trigger alert against expected Pakistani retaliation, two crucial omissions led to the missile battery opening fire and downing their own helicopter. (Excerpted from below.)] http://ajaishukla.blogspot.com/2019/04/damning-iaf-findings-on-india-shooting.html Saturday, 27 April 2019 IAF findings that India shot down own helicopter put on hold until after elections (Updated with IAF rebuttal and my response) The smoking remains of the chopper after it was shot down by an IAF missile near Budgam By Ajai Shukla Edited version in Business Standard, 27th April 19 (< https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/iaf-probe-findings-on-india-downing-own-helicopter-put-on-hold-119042700073_1.html >) The Indian Air Force (IAF) has been told to keep on hold the findings of a “court of inquiry” (CoI) that has conclusively determined that an IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter was shot down by an Indian missile battery that was guarding Srinagar air base. A senior helicopter pilot, of the rank of air commodore, heads the CoI. Six IAF personnel and a civilian on the ground died in that “friendly fire” incident on February 27. Top IAF sources say the incident happened after officers from the ground missile battery misidentified the IAF chopper as a Pakistani aircraft on a mission to attack Srinagar. The disaster took place the day after IAF fighters had struck a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorist camp in Pakistan to retaliate against a JeM suicide bomb attack 12 days earlier, which killed over 40 Indian troopers in Pulwama, near Srinagar. The CoI has found that, with IAF and army units across Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) in a state of hair-trigger alert against expected Pakistani retaliation, two crucial omissions led to the missile battery opening fire and downing their own helicopter. First, to guard against misidentification of aircraft in the prevailing state of alert, all IAF aircraft coming in to land in Srinagar were required to approach the air base only through a designated air corridor. Ground missile units would know that the aircraft approaching through the narrow “funnel” was a friendly aircraft. For reasons that remain unclear, the Mi-17V5 helicopter was not in the safe corridor as it approached from the direction of Budgam, to the south of Srinagar. The ground missile units assumed the radar track they picked was that of a hostile aircraft. Second, IAF aircraft are equipped with an electronic device called an Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system, which beams out a coded signal that identifies the aircraft as a friendly one to all IAF radars and IFF receivers. The IFF system is required to be switched on, especially in a situation where ground missile units are on high alert. For reasons that remain unclear, the CoI has found that the ill-fated helicopter’s IFF system was not switched on that day. IAF officers say they are keen to serve justice quickly and make an example of those found guilty of operational lapses. However, they are held back by a “go-slow” order from above. They say the reason is: With the Balakot bombing and the Pakistani response, including the alleged shooting down of a Pakistani F-16 fighter, being painted in election campaigning as a major Indian victory, admitting the loss of a helicopter and seven personnel due to friendly fire would present a bleaker picture. On February 27, the downing of the helicopter was obscured by the media attention on the downing of an IAF MiG-21 Bison fighter and the capture of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. The IAF has declined to comment, stating: “The CoI is still in progress”. Asked specifically about the delay in finalising the findings of the CoI, the IAF said: “The time line of any CoI cannot be predicted.” It is learned that the missile that was fired was an Israeli short-range surface to air missile (SR-SAM), which can engage incoming targets at ranges out to 20 kilometres. While engaging targets at those ranges, there is no scope for visual identification. Aircraft are merely a blip on a radar. The incoming helicopter was engaged with the permission of the Base Air Defence Officer at Srinagar, who was required to satisfy himself that targets being engaged were indeed hostile. ============== Update: In response to this article, the Indian Air Force tweeted at 10:26 a.m. on April 27: “Today in an article written by Ajai Shukla he has incorrectly speculated that the IAF Court of Inquiry constituted to investigate the Mi-17 V5 crash at Srinagar on 27 Feb has been put on hold. This is his imagination and IAF categorically denies this.” “CoI of aircraft accidents are meticulous & time consuming. All past inquiries of aircraft accidents bear testimony to this. Proceedings of a CoI are not commented upon by IAF till completion of the inquiry in all cases. There is no connection between elections & completion of CoI.” Ajai Shukla responds: This corespondent contacted the Indian Air Force for comments before publishing the article. The report carried their comments: "The CoI is still in progress” and “The time line of any CoI cannot be predicted.” The IAF accepts the article's basic point: that, two months after the deaths of seven persons in a "friendly fire" incident, the CoI has not been finalised. None of the other details in the report, about how and why an IAF missile battery shot down an IAF helicopter, are being rebutted by the IAF. The IAF claims that a two-month delay in finalising a CoI relating to an operational debacle is normal. However, top IAF officers say the delay in finalising the CoI has been imposed from above. I stand by the report, which is based on inputs from two highly credible IAF officers. Peace Is Doable -- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Green Youth Movement" group. To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to greenyouth+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com. 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