The writer expresses regret that Indian government as well as its media distorts the truth for political expediency. They are least interested in highlighting the truth no matter how obvious it is. For instance, the FIR and the AIR Force tweet about the Jammu air station explosion do not make any mention of drone attack. Subsequent investigation by elite investigation agencies also rule out the possibility of a drone attack from a nearby or a distant launch pad. Yet the media hype about the drone attack hypothesis continued unabated.
The writer recalls that India had the temerity to admit that Pakistan was not involved in the Pathankote airbase attak. He surmises that India did so because India then wanted to preserve the bonhomie created by Narendra Modi’s vsit to Nawaz Sharif’s residence at Lahore.
Social and print media is still being flooded with headlines that Pakistan-handled drones dropped explosives at the Indian Air force station at Jammu and flew back. The factual position is that the IAF’s official statement makes no mention of any drone attack: The IAF informed: “Two low intensity explosions were reported early Sunday morning in the technical area of Jammu Air Force Station. One caused minor damage to the roof of a building while the other exploded in any open area.” The Quint dated June 28 reported “Media reports soon flooded the internet that the Improvised Explosive Device (IED), probably shaped charges, were dropped by drones (this was not confirmed by official sources at the time of writing)”. Even the FIR registered “on the application of a Junior Warrant Officer of IAF” in Satwari Police Station makes no mention of any drone attack. The FIR was registered under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act sections 13/16/18/23 (unlawful activities/ terrorist act/ conspiracy/ enhanced penalties) and Indian Penal Code section 120-B (criminal conspiracy). Sections 3 and 4 of the Explosive Substances Act (causing explosion likely to endanger life or property/attempt to cause explosion, or for making or keeping explosives with intent to endanger life or property).
Preliminary investigation by the police and the air force could not find any trace of drone debris or evidence that some drone had attacked the air station. Not satisfied with the initial investigation, Indian government deputed the National Security guard and the National Investigation Agency to ferret out the truth. The Quint dated June 28, 2021 reported, ‘Media reports soon flooded the internet that the Improvised Explosive Device (IED), probably shaped charges, were dropped by drones (this was not confirmed by official sources at the time of writing).
With no wreckage of any unmanned vehicle found at the technical airport of the Indian Air Force (IAF), Jammu Air force Station, the new agencies began to explore the hypotheses of a drone attack from a nearby launch pad and a distant one. But they could not identify any possible spot near the base, which is just 16 km away from the LoC. The investigating agencies ruled out the possibility of a drone from a launching pad.
The controversy should have ended. But, the Indian media began to clamour that Pakistani drones did attack the air station and flew back. Even Indian prime minister shrugged off investigation reports by his elite agencies and called a high powered conference to review the “paradigm shift in warfare”.
Indian army toes the media line
The media began to criticise the army for failure to hit the intruding drones. To stave off pressure, the army publicised stories of two drones that were spotted and fired upon at a military installation in Jammu on the midnight of June 27-28.
Drones escaped after dropping payload?
The media still sticks to its drone attack theory. They contend that “the drones may have managed to drop the payload and escape from the spot. Drones, which require an open field or a building top for achieving a flight, are frequency controlled and easily escape the traditional radar systems. They could cover up to 30-40 km of distance”.
The drone story underscores one bitter truth. The Indian government and media do not speak the truth. They portray whatever is politically expedient. India knows that there had been no drone attack. But, it wants to keep the matter on the boil to keep Pakistan on tiptoe about India’s reaction.
It appears pertinent to recall the attack on Pathankot air base. Then India had the moral courage to say that Pakistan was not involved in the attack. The attack took place shortly after Indian prime minister had paid a visit to then prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s home at Jati Umra. India was then interested in preserving the bonhomie created by Modi’s visit to Lahore.
The situation now is different. India is trying tooth and nail to drive a wedge between the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Pakistan government. Natural death of a Pashtun leader was portrayed as a secret murder. His funeral procession was described as the largest ever procession in Pakistan’s history. Through its machinations, India managed to push back Pakistan back to the grey list.