I found the edit “Off target” (March 5) quite intriguing. India’s diplomatic victory over Pakistan in the context of the Balakot air strike is as much due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s incessant efforts to build close relationship with nations that are of strategic importance to it (including Saudi Arabia) as being a democracy. In search of accuracy in the number of Pakistanis killed, the Opposition is missing the strategic significance of established facts. That Indian Air Force penetrated Pakistan territory and that Pakistan’s retaliation was feeble and was confined to sending a F-16 plane to Indian borders put to rest the threat it represents as a nuclear power.
Why depend on international media and question the truth of damage done in Balakot? If the casualties in Pakistan were little or non-existent, the media in Pakistan would have been the first to publicise them with pictures calling out the Indian bluff. Instead, its government agreed to release the captured Indian pilot within two days. This was due to the active global pressure on it by world powers like the US, France, Russia and even China considering India’s striking power.
Separating the Balakot strike from electoral politics is not possible. By staging the Pulwama attack killing 40 CRPF jawans just two months before the Lok Sabha elections, Pakistan most likely wanted to facilitate Modi’s defeat. If Modi had not attacked quickly, his party and he would have faced an angry electorate. The unexpected and daring response came as a shock to Pakistan as well as the Opposition. Hence, the outcry for details.
Y G Chouksey