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From Times of Islamabad to The Hindu: 5 media outlets which ’knew about the Balakot airstrike before it happened’ according to ‘liberal’ logic

In the runup to India's military intervention on February 26, several news channels were talking about the same possibilities and none had any specific details about the Jaish-e-Mohammed training camps, or the highly valued targets or the fighter jets that were to be used.

The Mumbai Police leaked the private WhatsApp chats of Arnab Goswami on the internet in order to embarrass the Republic TV Editor. This prompted the left-liberal lobby and the Opposition parties to allege that the media baron was aware of top-secret information pertaining to national security. All such claims were made based on selective portions of the chat about the Balakot airstrikes. The falsehood created such a storm that even Pakistan couldn’t help but salvage the situation for its anti-India propaganda.

In one snippet of the leaked Whatsapp chat, Arnab Goswami said, “Bigger than a normal airstrike. And at the same time something major on Kashmir. On Pakistan, the government is confident of striking in a way that people will be elated. Exact words used.” However, it must be mentioned that the said information was already out in the public domain. Even Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made it clear that Pakistan would pay for the terror attack in Pulwama.

But for the left-liberal ecosystem, the facts of the case are irrelevant. With the primary objective to target Arnab Goswami, they are hellbent on portraying his casual chat as a ‘compromise’ with national security and a ‘definitive’ tipoff by PM Modi. By applying the same ‘liberal logic’, we find that several people must have been tipped off by the Prime Minister for them to implore the possibility of a precision airstrike, prior to the actual strike.

‘Defence analyst’ Ajai Shukla and The Wire

10 days ahead of the Balakot airstrike on February 16, ‘defence analyst’ Ajai Shukla tweeted, “Boarding an Indian Air Force flight to Exercise Vayu Shakti in Pokhran to watch IAF fighters unload tens of tonnes of high explosive on dummy targets…200 km due south of Bahawalpur, the Jaish e Mohammed headquarters.”

The defence analyst was seen explicitly dropping hints about the possibility of a precision airstrike by India, and the training carried out as part of the operations.

Screengrab of the tweet by Ajai Shukla via @sssaaagar

In a video uploaded by the left propagandist website, The Wire, on its Youtube channel, Ajai Shukla was heard saying, “Everybody is talking about air strikes but it is a manned method of going in. And again, you are sending a manned pilot into the harm’s way. Not just escalate but with the risk that you might be captured or probably dead and made into a spectacle.”

It is pertinent to remember that the said video was posted on the same date as his tweet on February 16, 2019. Applying the ‘liberal logic’, it becomes clear that Ajai Shula was ‘well aware’ of the plans of the Indian Air Force and was in fact seen doing a risk-analysis of such a military exercise, 10 days prior to the actual event.

(Video Courtesy: Youtube/The Wire)

The Times of Islamabad warned about airstrike targeting terror camps

Not just The Wire, even the Times of Islamabad was found discussing military options available to India against Pakistan, in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack. It conceded, “The government is also looking at all military options available — from shallow ground-based attacks and occupation of some heights along the LoC to restricted but precise airstrikes against terror and training camps in Kashmir across the border.”

Screengrab of the tweet by Times of Islamabad via @attomeybharti

Given that The Times of Islamabad hit the bull’s eye when it talked about India undertaking a restricted but precise airstrike against terror camps in PoK across the border, is it safe to assume that PM Modi must have therefore passed info on military plans to the Pakistani side in advance on February 18? Or was it that the airstrikes happened to be the best option available to the Indian Air Force to seamlessly take out the training camps of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir?

Screengrab of the article by The Times of Islamabad.

‘The Hindu’ hints at airstrike but ponders over ramifications

Even the left leaning English daily, ‘The Hindu’ was found highlighting about the chances of India responding to Pakistan’s terror attack with a targetted airstrike. The article, by Happymon Jacob, dated February 19, 2019, was also seen pondering about India’s options after the terror attack.

While emphasising that the repetition of 2016 surgical strikes might lead to escalated tensions between the two countries, he opined, “The second option is to use strike aircraft to carry out precision strikes in locations across the Line of Control (LoC).”

Screengrab of the article published in The Hindu

Happymon Jacob, however, warned that the fighter jet might be intercepted by the Pakistani radar systems or result in the capture of pilots. “If an aircraft is shot down or pilots are captured, it could become a bigger headache for the government,” the article added.

India Today chips in with its expert panel, suggests unmanned airstrikes

India Today, too joined the raging conversation around India’s response to Pakistan, just a day after the terror attack in Pulwama. Journalist Rahul Kanwal claimed that the possibility of an airstrike was discussed even in the aftermath of 26/11 attacks. He claimed that a suggestion was made to then Prime Minister manmohan Singh by the then Air Chief Marshall fali Homi Major.

Kanwal went on to say that the Indian Air Force could use airborne precision-guided ammunition from the Indian side of LOC and attack key pakistani positions such as army establishments, terror hideouts or training camps, as a response to Pakistan’s aggression.

Screengrab of the tweet by India Today

‘Precision air strike most favoured option’, rules Times of India

TOI reported on the 16th of February, two days after the Pulwama Terror attack, that precision air strikes were the favoured option going forward. The report said, “The military options, short of going to war, could range from ‘shallow’ ground-based attacks and occupation of some heights along the LoC to restricted but precision air strikes against ‘non-state targets’ in PoK, senior military officers said.”

“There is growing agreement in the security establishment that carefully-calibrated airborne strikes are among the most viable and effective options to teach a lesson to Pakistan, with the ground-based ‘surgical strikes’ of September 2016 having somewhat lost their element of surprise,” it added.

The report went so far as to say, “Fighters like Sukhoi-30MKIs, Mirage-2000s and Jaguars, armed with ‘smart’ glide bombs and missiles, can be used to take out some terror camps and launch pads near the LoC from ‘stand-off ranges’ without even crossing into Pakistani airspace. “Preparation time for such air strikes is minimal,” said an officer on the condition of anonymity.”

Debunking the liberal logic behind victimising Arnab Goswami

As seen above, prior to India’s airstrike in Balakot, several news organisations such as The Wire, India Today, The Times of India and The Hindu were all discussing the possibility of an unprecedented air strike to retaliate against Pakistan’s support for terrorism. As explicitly stated by PM Modi himself, such a response from a strong government at the Centre was expected. This is the same reason as to why even The Times of Islamabad had also discussed about such a possibility, given that the precedent was set by the surgical strikes of 2016.

A closer look at the Whatsapp chats of Arnab Goswami makes it clear that he did not name target locations or the nature of the airstrike. In the runup to India’s military intervention on February 26, several news channels were talking about the same possibilities and none had any specific details about the Jaish-e-Mohammed training camps, or the highly valued targets or the fighter jets that were to be used.

The despicable act of the Mumbai police to selectively leak his private chats and for the left-liberal ecosystem to suggest that the casual chat was the result of a tip-off from the Prime Minister or a compromise of India’s national security is downright juvenile and ridiculous. To selectively tarnish Arnab’s image over information, already available in the public domain, goes on to highlight a sinister attempt at witch hunting.

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Searched termsArnab Goswami Balakot
Dibakar Dutta
Fascinated by Indian politics

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