The Arnab Goswami private WhatsApp chats leaked by Mumbai Police have created quite the storm. After opposition parties claimed that the Republic TV Editor-in-Chief was aware of top secret information pertaining to national security based on selective portions of the chat on the Balakot airstrikes, Pakistan swooped in to claim on the basis of the leaked chats that the Pulwama terror attack was a “false flag” staged by India.
The leaked chat shows Arnab saying, “Bigger than a normal airstrike. And on 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.”
We have reported at length that Arnab Goswami had not said anything that was not already publicly available information. Prime Minister Modi himself had made it clear a day after the attack that the terrorists had committed a “grave mistake” for which they would have to pay a heavy price. On the 23rd of January, Narendra Modi reiterated his message.
Thus, it is abundantly clear that the Republic TV Editor was not speaking out of turn. And as it so happens, we have a Times of India report from the 16th of February 2019 that makes it even more clear that Arnab Goswami did not say anything that was not already in public domain.
TOI reported on the said date, 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.”
The report said that the prevailing sentiment was that Pakistan must be made to pay for their support towards terrorism. Under such circumstances, it appears rather bizarre to claim that Arnab Goswami was privy to top secret national security information.
Amusingly enough, Times Now has invited politicians on its platform who have peddled such crazy conspiracy theories. However, the channel pretends that the TOI report does not exist. Both, Times Now and TOI are owned by The Times Group.