he narrative that contradicts what the incumbent government has been building up before the public is shaping up into a formidable force, conspicuously and probably disruptively. It is most evident in the protests nationwide in the wake of the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA which was earlier known as CAB before transforming into law). States, particularly West Bengal and those in the North East, are violently shunning the Act for the reason that it appears to be divisive in intention and discriminative against not only a particular minority community but more because it will permanently upset the present locus standi of original inhabitants of those states. Even as the country continues to debate the merits and demerits of CAA, a relatively older spectacle that the government had staged before the country in the election season may be coming apart. Christine Fair, an expert on South Asian political and military affairs, has categorically stated, at an interaction in Chandigarh Saturday, that India has not shot any Pakistani F16 fighter down while repulsing a Pakistani air force counter offensive following the IAF strike on Balakot. She has questioned the claim of the Indian Air Force and convincing answers are not forthcoming yet. The political powers that be must ensure that the forces concerned should come out with valid proof, rather than dismissing the entire affair as the fallout of a battle of perceptions; it is the easy way out, particularly as the required technology is currently available with the country’s armed forces to analyse the tell-tale signs of the attack and its aftermath.
The people of this country should know why their hard-earned money has been spent on a mission that appears to have been planned under undue pressure and executed inaccurately. Of course, Fair had termed India’s claims immediately following the attack as dubious. She has also placed a few facts on the table that need substantiation or rejection. One statement that Fair has made is the MiG21 Bison which Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman flew was really superior to the F16 the PAF has. Abhinandan was conferred with the Vir Chakra for his action, which actually saw him being taken captive and being released later after much hype and hoopla. Although it would be unfair to take Fair’s statements at face value, it merits investigation of the facts and full disclosure. If Fair is to be believed, India has lost its credibility in the way it used certain images and videos on social media to bolster its claims. The professor of security studies at Georgetown University has also questioned the IAF’s claims about destroying the terror camp at Balakot.
The anomaly she questions is with regard to the use of a Spice bomb, which the IAF claimed had caused limited damage to the buildings, but extensive damage internally and left about 300 terrorists dead. Being precision-guided weapons, such bombs are claimed to be equipped to enter a structure through small openings and kill the occupants without destroying the buildings. However, it is questionable from Fair’s assertion whether a building with corrugated roofing as the Balakot terror camp was shown to be from satellite imagery, could have withstood the impact of a Spice bomb. The type of ‘structures’ being discussed could be termed, more appropriately, as bomb proof concrete bunkers.
The hurry the government is showing in introducing legislation with likely negative impact in the long term for the country is putting the country in peril. It is paving the way to paranoia and a nation that will remain bound by fears. Any sort of mass fear can never propel any economy to greater heights. Since the government continues with its missteps, the nation is tripping and falling face forward.