Indo-Pak crisis de-escalates, New Delhi commits to “peace and stability” - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Thursday 28 February 2019

Indo-Pak crisis de-escalates, New Delhi commits to “peace and stability”

By Ajai Shukla
New Delhi
Business Standard, 1st March 19

Late on Thursday, three officers from the army, navy and air force addressed the media in New Delhi to communicate India’s decision to de-escalate the current India-Pakistan standoff and maintain “peace and stability in the region”.

“Despite the present turn of events, the Indian Army is committed to maintaining peace and stability in the region and will continue to act against agencies who harbour inimical designs against India and citizens of our country”, said Major General SS Mahal of the army.

The statement also indicated that the army is deployed defensively along the border and that there would be no further armed action unless “provocation” came from Pakistan.

“I wish to assure the nation that we are fully prepared and in a heightened state of readiness to respond to any provocation by Pakistan”, said Mahal.

The air force pointedly avoided answering a question about whether the attack by Pakistani fighter aircraft on Indian military facilities constituted an act of war.

The press meeting came a few hours after Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that the Indian Air Force (IAF) MiG-21 pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was shot down and captured by Pakistani troops on Wednesday, would be repatriated to India on Friday as a goodwill gesture.

Earlier, after a summit meeting in North Korea, US President Donald Trump had declared that there was good news in the offing about the India-Pakistan standoff.

The IAF statement, while remaining silent on the Indian strike on Balakot in Pakistan on Tuesday, described in detail the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) raid into India on Wednesday.

It said that “a large package of PAF aircraft” ingressed across the Line of Control (LoC) and “attempted to target military installations [but] were intercepted by IAF fighter aircraft, which thwarted their plans.”

“In the aerial combat that ensued one F-16 of PAF was shot down by an IAF MiG-21 Bison [fighter aircraft]. The F-16 crashed and fell across the LoC… The IAF lost one MiG-21 in the aerial engagement.”

Even as de-escalation has been initiated at the political and senior military level, the army revealed tensions on the ground, with “unprovoked cease fire violations in Sunderbani, Bhimbar Gali, Naushera and Krishna Ghati sectors on [Tuesday]. This was responded to by the Indian Army in a befitting and appropriate manner.”


  1. NSR says ---

    Time pull up boots and strap them and get to work on a war footing basis...

    Get the Mirage-2000 and Mig-29 upgraded on unrgent basis...

    Accelerate Tejas-IA and II programs...

    Redouble efforts on AMCA program...

    MMRCA 2.0 program is too long and too risky process...

    Order 18 Super Sukhoi SU-30MKI from Russia and additional 36 from HAL with as much manufacturing and maintenance technology as India can manage to get...
    If Russia wishes to push SU-35,, then take it on the promise that they will transfer all manufacturing and maintenance technology and upgraded radar, avionics, and engine for SI-30 MKI...

    Order additional 18 Rafales from France and manufacture additional 36-54 from HAL with as much manufacturing and maintenance technology as India can manage to get...
    Rafales with Meteor missile will be force multiplier...

    I think all politicians and public must agree with a unified plan for pressing needs of armed forces... No politics anymore with IAF acquisitions and go with these G2G programs...

  2. At Pulwama, 44 jawans lost their lives.
    Tragic but why did Modi needed to bomb Pakistan provoking certain escalation knowing Pakistan will retaliate
    India has had many insurgencies related militant attacks Since 2014,
    For instance 901 jawans have been killed since then, due to terror attacks.
    Before Pulwama, more jawans were killed in Naxal violence (363) than in Kashmir (354)
    Modi knows that if he teaches a lesson to Pak, he will be made into Great War leader with the election in the bag.

  3. Has any proof been provided of the downing of the F16? Seems like something like this would not be easy to hide!

  4. Dear Sir,

    Kudos for being a source of accurate information. It is a sign of an upright, correct officer, as put to me by a Pak co-worker. You are credit to both of your professions.

    I feel our armed forces have been used for party political purposes and its a shame seeing courageous men brought to this.

    There are many that claim that POK will come back to us, well watch the reaction of the locals there? Did you hear what the our J&K locals were shouting when our helicopter went down? We have lost the war for the hearts and minds.

    The big question: what is the new normal? well its the 'old normal'. Paks are no walk over and have never been a walk over, not in West Pakistan. Even as individuals I have never seen them back down, even when outnumbered and knowing they will get beaten.


  5. As much as we wish it Broadsword, until the elections are over, this crises is not really over.
    The killings of the CRPF `Jawans at Pulama was politicised by the Modi Government , as it was never was on the terror attack at Chattisgharh.
    A full scale war, which we risked coming close to this week, may have killed hundreds of thousands. A war would have put Indias development back twenty years. India would have been unable to pull its people out of poverty for decades.
    Modi was rooting for a war, there was rumour of a planned a retaliatory missile attack on Pakistan after the air attack on Indian military targets.
    Let’s not diminish the initial Indian Attack on Balakot by calling it (like most of the Indian MSM) a preemptive strike on a non military target. It was a full fledged violation of the sovereignty of Pakistan by Indian jets, with bombs dropped deep in Pakistan territory.
    Perhaps we are being influenced by Israel which bombs so called terror camps in nearby countries with impunity. Pakistan is not Lebanon or Syria - and the lesson learned is unless you want to start a war with Pakistan, India must not do this again.
    I am also disappointed that our armed forces keep quiet when politicians and government spokesmen tell lies.
    We were lied to when we were told that 300 odd terrorists had been killed in Balakot, we may have been lied to when we are told the IAF MIG shot down one F16 Falcon. We can be assured that Lockheed Martin will be interested in getting to the bottom of this, it damages the reputation of their aircraft -
    * Refer to Broadswords article Old wine in a new bottle, Lockheed Martin is trying to sell India the F21 a variant of F16 -

  6. Question that needs to be answered:

    How is it possible for Pakistan to first announce that they will respond withing 24hours. They then according to IAF, sent 24 aircrafts in broad daylight, not terrain hugging or masking. Drop their load near brigade HQ and Ammo dump and go back. This is what is playing out.



  7. Dear PM Pakistan Khan & PM India Modi

    Your forces are continuously bombing across line of illegal control over Jammu & Kashmir since last week, killing and terrorising us, while the people of your countries lead normal safe lives and we watch your anchors give opinions from air conditioned studios.
    Instead of fighting over our land, We request both Prime Ministers to Kindly use your atom bomb & kill us Kashmiri all at once.
    We are fed up of all this and now beg you to nuke us and end our misery.
    The Pulwama attack and the subsequent fall out is yet another example of Pakistan and India using Kashmir as no man's land to air out your hubris and to prioritize your own power and sovereignty over the lives and safety of us the people living on our land of Kashmir for hundreds of years.
    Since 1947, there have been over fifteen different massacres in Kashmir. Indian authorities put the death and disappeared count at 41,000 since 1989 - but it is estimated to be well over 100,000.
    The total number of unmarked graves is estimated to be more than 6,000.
    Human rights violations include: sexual violence, torture, extrajudicial killings, disappearances, beheadings, kidnapping, and extortion. These were enacted on Kashmiri Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus by several different iterations of the same genocide.

    Even suffering dogs are put down, we repeat please nuke us immediately

    Yours sincerely

    The Kashmiri people

  8. The AMRAAM debris shown at the press conference, I told was fired from a F16 , E of Rajouri?
    You posted something on your blog previously about an air ambush which caused Abhinandan’s MIG being shot down.
    But this AMRAAM could NOT have been aimed at Abhinandan’s downed MIG which went down the other side of LOC miles away from Rajouri.
    The question is which aircraft was the AMRAAM fired at ? It’s programmed to detonate automatically by radar homing in on close proximity.
    If it was fired by a F16 at long range (BVR) the strong probability is it did a second lock on to the target aircraft via its own inbuilt short range radar field, else it would not have detonated.
    Given its high kill rate where is the missing wreckage of the target aircraft!
    So did it hit another F16 Falcon?
    If the above is the case it must have been Pakistani friendly fire that brought down the missing F16, in that case the wreckage should be quite near to where the AMRAAM piece was found not across the LOC.
    OR Was it a second IAF aircraft which was shot down by a PAF F16.

  9. What will it take for the Indian government to capitalize on social media? Not all foreign news organizations have budget to send people over for press conference.

  10. Lockheed Martin’s American service engineers know each F16 Falcon in the PAF intimately as each have a package of expensive maintenance contracts. Each has separate paperwork and electronic service records
    Each Pakistan F16 has gone through or is waiting for a multi million dollar upgrade programme.
    The American manufacturer will know if any F16 Falcon are missing.
    So far thery seem to be unaware one has been lost.
    Pakistan has said all have been accounted in the PAF inventory. If one of the company manufactured F16 were shot down Lockheed Martin does its own extensive investigation. They would announce the fact to any interested party.

    1. Pakistan has been buying 2nd hand F16 from JORDAN WHEN USA STOPPED.....

  11. Hi Ajai,

    Its good to see the way India adapted new the way to respond terrorism specially after Uri & Pulwama where we targeted infra & training camps.

    In this case specially IAF, According to many defence experts it was on card since last many years. I was not surprised to see roll of IAF this time (Targets training camps to a larger extent).

    Next day around PAK responded as expected. (Latest statement by IAF)
    On 27 Feb 19 at around 1000 hrs IAF radars detected a large package of PAF aircraft heading towards the Indian territory towards general area Jhangar.

    It was really encouraging to see our pilots skliis & MIG 21 BIS capability to take down comparatively much advance F 16.

    But I one thing I am surprised of - Why India did not use SAM in this particular scenario ?

    Looking at the broader picture two front conflict - what is Importance of S-400 & 36 Rafael ?

    Speaking about Rafael
    - 36 is enough ?
    - MMRCA2.0 - If we know Rafael is one of the best among all competitors why we are not directly dealing with Rafael ?

    How quickly we need Fifth generation Fighter ? (AMCA assuming to be 15 years away & China is already having Fifth generation aircraft with them)

  12. Please ask the USA to count their F 16. DO THEY HAVE THE KILL SWITCH.





  13. Replying to Anonymous at - 2 March 2019 at 4:35
    You are right in saying that the AMRAAM is programmed to detonate only on hitting its target. To illustrate this via information in the public domain, ten days ago a F15C of the 142 fighter wing of of the Oregon Air National Guard fired four AMRAAM missiles into the sea. It was ordered to fire them as a precaution before landing, as its landing gear failed to retract.
    These were fully armed with live air-to-air missiles and the decision was made with the knowledge that these would not detonate despite the concrete like impact of hitting the ocean at high speed.
    The fragment of AMRAAN casing shown by Air vice Marshal Ravi Kapoor had clearly detonated on hitting its intended target, as programmed.
    The DG of J & K police made a statement that it was found near Mamankote Mallas village under Chassana Thesil.
    Chassana SHO Ali Imran said, he was tipped of regarding a crash and when his team arrived he found a large crater and next to it the AMRAAN fragment. There was small debris all around the crater.
    If there was a large crater where was the wreckage that made the crater, why they were only small debris?
    Was the wreckage of the target this AMRAAN hit, cleared before the J & K police were tipped of twenty four hours later????
    The government press handout said
    “The police team after minutely examining the remnants of blast causing substance said it was an AMRAAM, which is used by select category of fighter planes including some used by Pakistan.”
    Since when has a police SHO and his constable team have the expertise to identify a Fragment of a AMRAAM missile and have knowledge that its used by a select category of fighter planes used by Pakistan.

  14. PAF actually shot down 2 IAF aircraft. Both taken down at BVR range by the JF17s. The second aircraft is either SU30MKI or Mirage as mentioned by a recently retired PAF AVM Latif. This brings to question did JF17 see them before? IAF have retired the Western Air Commander after it came to be known that COAS was at one of the locations PAF bombed. IAF goofed up big.

    It seems all the jokes about JF17 came back to haunt us. Whilst our saviour will be an import, they will make Block 3 of their Thunder or is it still Blunder.



  15. Vikram Prasad our PAF actually shot down a Russian SU-30 MKI and that too with a JF-17 Thunder. Our Flacons were in our hangers with gift wrapping and tied up with silk ribbons. We will always listen to the US even if Pakistan is in very clear and present danger. I am 10000% correct in this.
    Last time we counted our Falcons on behalf of US, we discovered we had three extra. Today we counted again we have five more than they should be in our hangers.

    1. Pakistan Air Force (PAF) pilot Wing Commander Shahzaz-ud-Din, who was flying the F-16 fighter jet, did return to his country after breaching the Indian airspace but couldn't survive for long.

      During the aerial combat between India and Pakistan on February 27, IAF's MiG 21 Bison shot down the PAF's F-16, Shahzaz-ud-Din was flying, in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. At the same time, the Pakistan forces shot down India's MiG 21.

      Both the aircraft - India's MiG 21 Bison and Pakistan's F-16 - crashed on the Pakistani territory at two different places. Both the pilots successfully bailed out of their crashed aircraft.

      Both Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman and Wing Commander Shahzaz-ud-Din fought for their countries but while India's Abhinandan was captured alive by the Pakisatn Army, Pakistan's Shahzaz-ud-Din was lynched by the locals assuming him to be an Indian, according to several media reports.




    DEFCON 1 COCKED PISTOL Nuclear war is imminent Maximum readiness
    DEFCON 2 FAST PACE Next step to nuclear war Armed Forces ready to deploy and engage in less than 6 hours
    DEFCON 3 ROAD HOUSE Increase in force readiness above that required for normal readiness Air Force ready to mobilize in 15 minutes
    DEFCON 4 DOUBLE TAKE Increased intelligence watch and strengthened security measures Above normal readiness
    DEFCON 5 FADE OUT Lowest state of readiness Normal readiness

  17. Time has answered all the popping and doubting Toms of the blog. The why and how of MIG being shot down, the why and how of mighty F-16 being "morto" or murdaar, the lynching of F-16 pilot by his own people, proof of US manufactured AAMARAM with serial number etc has cleared many self generated motivated and deliberate clouds.

    Ensuring that 600 or 300 terrorists are present at target site is not the job of IAF. Ensuring they they all die would also be attempted but can not be guaranteed. The motivated commentators are deliberately not highlighting bigger achievement - Going 80 Km inside Pakistan, remaining over target area about 20 minutes and safely returning home . Is it nothing?? Ask the air forces the world over.

    Demonstration of "Conventional capabilities" against "Asymmetrical War" agents or "terrorists" or against Pakistan's armed forces which was considered as shut down by Pakistani nukes or the threats of bombing India out of shape has been wide opened. Cold start has once again become the most viable option. With India acquiring so many 155mm guns, so many rocket regiments, SP artillery regiments, robust and all range missiles, all capable of supporting forces from far off and deep inside Pakistan there would be no inhibiting factors for cols start forces.
    No one is highlighting that. I do not consider the commentators on Broadsword as naive.

    Gentlemen, forget about whether 30 terrorist of 300 Jihadis were killed, what is the most important outcome of this conflict is that Pakistani armed forces will not remain aloof from the Gazab-e-Hind. And that Pakistani bluff has been called to certain extent.

  18. it is very difficult to estimate what will happen next. especially until the elections are over.
    Also if no tangible actions are taken by global community then we are again left with few choices.
    lastly if our neighbour carries out another attack and proudly take credit there will be another round of escalation.
    Therefore we must not get swayed by what is being spoken in public domain, all depends on actions along the borders.


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