Thursday, September 16, 2010

NEW FACE OF A WAR (2008-2009)

BACKGROUND

With PAF proceeding well in its path of modernization, India had developed some serious issues. India knew that if PAF would be transformed by 2012, it would turn out to be a formidable adversary in terms of equipment. India tried its level best to spoil all ongoing PAF deals with other countries but failed to do so. Insisting that the proposed upgrade of Pakistani F-16 fighters along with the sale of new Block-52 fighters by the US is more likely to be used in a conventional war rather than on terror, Indian defence analysts have raised concerns that the fighters could be used as a nuclear delivery platform against India.

The Indian Air Chief S.P. Tyagi had also stated earlier that the IAF has been crying out for fighter aircraft, as its fleet grew older and older. Now the IAF is in danger of being overtaken by its most important rival, the PAF. India needs 40 squadrons of fighters but the present figure is down to 34 squadrons, six squadrons short, that is 120 planes. As old planes like the MIG-21/-23 and /-25s are phased out, by 2012 there will be barely 31.5 squadrons and by 2018 India will have 26.5 squadrons. The IAF projected a requirement for about 126 aircraft in 2001, when the strength was at 39.5 squadrons (down from 45). There was an option for an additional 74 aircraft. However even in mid 2010, IAF was unable to make a final decision of the procurement of the aircraft.

INDIAN AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

The growing military might of the Pakistan Armed Forces, caused serious concerns across the border in India. With the Pakistani economy getting in a better shape and the military receiving quality training and being re-equipped with state of the art weapons, India could well see in the future that Pakistan could end up being stronger than India itself. Thus India decided to sabotage this progress.

During the military standoff in 2001-02, Indian infiltrators poured in Pakistan in large numbers. They set up their bases in remote areas and disguised themselves as Taliban. Along with some paid mercenaries, they created havoc in their regions, especially in the regions bordering Afghanistan. In the retaliatory strikes by the Pakistan Armed Forces, many civilians also lost their lives mostly to the Indians. The remaining people were brainwashed by the Indians in the name of Islam, and forced them to think that the Pakistan Armed Forces and the government are the enemy of Islam and a war against them is equivalent to Jihad. This encouraged young people who lost their families to carry out suicide attacks against Pakistani military targets. Starting from 2006 till to-date, they started a new trend of suicide bombing claiming lives of thousands. This lead to a situation that both foreign and local investors started to take their money out of various projects and leave Pakistan. Most of their primary targets were military which included ISI personnel and high ranking officers, along with military and police personnel as secondary targets. The way they conducted suicide attacks were properly planned with proper intelligence regarding their targets and were well executed. They simply could not be attributed to the Talibans.
Indians in Taliban's disguise

The Indians inside Pakistan also encouraged violence and street crimes. Their have been a rapid increase in crimes of all types, and created a high level of insecurity among all sectors of life. The people of Pakistan were hit hard by the military operations, terrorist attacks, crimes such as theft, kidnapping and dacoit, inflation and the shortage of all the necessities which are required in everyday life. Pakistan at that point was facing an economical, political, and judicial instability.

India on the other hand stopped the flow of River Chenab to Pakistan, creating more problems for Pakistan. This was a contingency plan that would have drastic effects on Pakistan in near future.

According to the planned India-Israel strategy, India wanted to corner Pakistan so that it can dictate its terms to Pakistan and get hold of Pakistani Nuclear and Missile Program and thus disarm it for good. The strategy of these countries was simple, that is to pressurize Pakistan and bring it to such a state that it surrenders its nuclear and missile program, and live the rest of its life either as a failed state and governed by a puppet government, as in Afghanistan or Iraq, or break up in small states.

INDIA PREPARES TO CORNER PAKISTAN FOR ANOTHER SHOWDOWN

Early in 2008, IAF alleged PAF of violating Indian airspace. However this news never gained public attention as it was fabricated. RAW agents conducted attacks in the Indian embassy in Kabul so that the Indian government could allege Pakistan. Later when Pakistan took an aggressive posture against the US during September 2008 India once again decided to interfere.

In a sharp attack on Pakistan, Indian Finance Minister P Chidambaram accused neighbouring country of supporting terrorist activities and communal violence in India saying that India was caught in a "troubled neighbourhood". Chidambaram said Pakistan has taken its "hostility" towards India beyond Kashmir. The statement came on the day when India announced deployment of six of its multi-role Sukhoi SU-30MKI combat jets in disputed Kashmir raising fears of renewed escalation of tension in the volatile region. The move was aimed at Pakistan, assuming that if Pakistan is powerless to stop US drone attacks, it will react similarly to any Indian strike in Pakistan airspace. These jets started patrolling close to the border due to which PAF was compelled to station its alert fighters on a high level of alert.

IAF Su-30MKIs patrolling near Pakistan Border

Apart from stationing SU-30MKIs in Kashmir, the Israel’s Army chief, Major General Avi Mizrahi secretly visited Kashmir. Indian authorities remained tight-lipped about the visit, neither confirming nor denying, however, the lid was blown by Iranian News Agency, IRNA. Major General Avi Mizrahi, arrived in New Delhi on September 9, on a three-day visit, where he met his counterpart Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor. and also minister of state for defence production, Rao Inderjit Singh, chiefs of India’s navy and air force and discussed joint military training and exercises for the two armed forces. Israel had offered to train Indian troops in counter-insurgency and anti-terrorist operations. General Mizrahi’s visit to Kashmir came in the backdrop of a massive anti-India agitation in Indian-Occupied Kashmir. At least 50 persons were killed in the uprising that began two months back with the tensions still high. It shall also be noted that in 2007 a delegation of senior Israeli army officers secretly visited the violence hit Kashmir. Israeli Army officers, during their visit, undertook real time testing of the sophisticated equipment sold by Israel to the Indian army.

To strengthen its air combat machinery along the borders with Pakistan, India decided to deploy its air superiority Su-30MKI fighter aircraft in Jodhpur in Rajasthan.

Before that the IAF had deployed its main strike fighter either in Lohegaon near Pune or closer to China in Bareilly. IAF Su-30MKIs started operating in high-altitude areas and conducted practice flights from the Leh air base in Jammu and Kashmir. India also reopened the 'Fuk Che' airbase in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, close to both the Chinese and Pakistani borders for operating larger military aircraft.

India also upgraded nine airbases falling under its Western Air Command along the Pakistani border. Hindan airbase, near the capital, was the first to be equipped with advanced electronic gadgets enabling it to operate all types of aircrafts including fighters and transport fleets.

With India building up its pressure on the Easter border and the Pakistan Armed Forces indulged in combat with the terrorists in the Western border, it was indeed a tough time for Pakistan. With a half hearted US support, plagued with terrorist attacks within and a fragile economic and political structure, Pakistan was facing one of the worst time of its history. India on the other hand was all set to hit and was waiting for the right time to strike.

MUMBAI ATTACKS AND THE INDIAN ALLEGATIONS

The Mumbai attacks were more than ten coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai, India's largest city, by terrorists. The attacks, which drew widespread condemnation across the world, began on 26 November 2008 and lasted until 29 November, killing at least 173 people and wounding at least 308. Though India accuses Pakistan in these attacks the reality is another way round.

India was already cornering Pakistan and was waiting for a time in which it could slash Pakistan. Indian secret services RAW along with the Israeli secret service MOSSAD prepared a malicious plan. RAW recruited some Pakistanis by offering them incentives which would benefit them. After that they trained them and transported them to India, with full cooperation with the Indian Armed Forces. Thus when the Mumbai Attacks were still being carried out, the Indian Prime Minister immediately blamed Pakistan for this incident. In short Mumbai Attack originated from an Indian mind and was carried out and funded by the Indians themselves. The way the Indians behaved with the Pakistanis in India at that time is an ample proof of this.

After the Mumbai Attacks, the Indian Government supported by Indian Media slashed a campaign against Pakistan, to let the world believe that Pakistani Government and Military is behind the Mumbai Attacks. At this stage, the war gurus and stats were in favour of surgical strikes conducted by IAF, with ex-IAF personnel and Indian politicians insisting in front of the international media for the IAF aircraft to strike targets inside Pakistan and demoralize the Pakistani public. Thus Pranab Mukherjee set a deadline that until or unless Pakistan Government will not accept these attacks they will have to face the wrath of IAF.

It was when IAF decided to carry out to cross the border. Indian fighter planes violated Pakistan’s air space by entering two places in Kashmir and Lahore. PAF F-16s and Mirage ROSE-I which were already on alert quickly came into action and forced the IAF’s fighter jets to leave Pakistan’s air space. This act of valour was followed by a foolish comment coming from our top leadership of the government, which termed this intrusion as a navigational error and technical mistake. Since IAF officially denied this incident, it was absurd to provide explanations on their behalf. Whatever the reason was behind those statements, our armed forces took an aggressive posture. Pakistan Army started taking their defensive positions on the border while the Airforce moved in its highest state of alert.

PAF F-16s once again spearheaded the Pakistan Air Defence Units
In response to the ‘deadline’ set by India and the threats from Sonia Gandhi and Pranab Mukherjee, Pakistan had gone on a diplomatic counter-offensive, briefing world powers and countries in the region on the deteriorating relations with India and the steps taken by it to address Indian concerns.

Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir met ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — the US, Britain, China, France and Russia. He also met ambassadors of Italy, Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey soon after returning from France where he had gone for annual bilateral consultations.

However, his most crucial meeting was with Indian High Commissioner Satyabrata Pal at the Foreign Office when he said that India should defuse tension. Mr Pal was accompanied by his deputy Manpreet Vohra. The Indian side was categorically told that any ‘surgical strikes’ would be considered a declaration of war. India was urged to respond to Pakistan’s proposal for joint investigation into the Mumbai attacks.

The Indian diplomats looked somber when they came out of the meeting. As things stand, the possibility of war was averted in which was seen as a massive diplomatic victory for Pakistan. This of course does not mean that Pakistan should let their guard down. In addition to the diplomatic counter-offensive, it was Pakistan Army’s seriousness that put India on the backfoot.

Once the realization set in that any further attempts to enter Pakistan Airspace will be punished severely by the PAF, the Indians had gone to plan B, with Mullen asking for a guarantee that PAF will not respond to Indian surgical strikes.

At this stage Adm. Mike Mullen asked Pakistan for a guarantee that PAF will not respond to Indian surgical strikes. Pakistan Army’s CAS General Kayani responded with showing Mullen a photograph of an IAF Mirage-2000 locked by PAF’s F-16 taken on December 13. ‘Next time, we’ll bring it down’, Mullen was told. To make sure the message was loud and clear, PAF jets started patrolling the skies in hot mode and a red-alert was issued throughout the country.


PAF Mirage on an Air Defence Mission
During this period PAF flew day night CAPs over vital points and areas. These sorties boosted the morale of the public which was hit hard by the terrorist attacks and inflation. The spirit of 1965 was felt when PAF jets roared above the public. These sorties demoralized the IAF which expected a walk in the park, when it planned for the strikes in Pakistan airspace. IAF CAS on a couple of occasions mentioned that he is quite disturbed with PAF aircraft flowing close to the border in battle formations giving an aggressive posture. The Indian war rhetoric failed to impress Pakistan. Instead, the focus shifted to Indian intelligence agencies’ failure to put together credible evidence implicating Pakistan in the Mumbai attacks.


PAF F-7PGs on a high level CAP mission
Thus after February 2009, India decided to end the conflict and switched back to the old routine of blaming Pakistan using their media.


PAF LAUNCHES OPERATIONS AGAINST THE INDIAN SUPPORTED TERRORISTS

During engagements with the terrorists in 2007 and 2008, Pakistan Army and intelligence agencies find major evidences of Indian involvement. This included military hardware, hard cash as well as dead bodies of Tehrik Taliban Personnel which were revealed to be of Indian/Non Muslim origin. Every male Muslim on his birth has to undergo a ritual after which he is declared as a Muslim. This distinguished Muslims from Non Muslims, and helped the Pakistan Army in revealing the true identity of the terrorists.

Apart from that, Pakistani Government offered the extremists a chance to resolve all matters peacefully, but in return the extremists proved that neither they have interest in peace, nor they cared about the religion of Islam. Their agenda was to destabilize the region, defame Islam and cripple Pakistan’s economy by carrying out terrorist activities.



Pakistan Army Cobra Gunship helicopters in action during Swat Operation

It was thus decided to carry out a major operation against them. The first area which needed to be cleared was Swat and Malakand region. Urban warfare is the most difficult form of war. The enemy is disguised as a civilian and hides behind a civilian cover. Whereas the Pakistan Army has to visually identify their targets before firing, the enemy has the luxury to attack from any direction at any time. Pakistan Army in conjunction with the Pakistani and American intelligence agencies was able to gain substantial information regarding the terrorists. Pakistan Army was re-equipped with an Urban Warfare Gear, while the PAF received high resolution infrared sensors which enabled them to carry out detailed reconnaissance of the area and plan their missions accordingly. The enemy was silently cornered from all four sides, and then the operation began. PAF provided complete support to the army and used precision guided munitions, thus inflicting minimum civilian causalities, and knocking out major command and control centres of the enemy.

With a highly successful campaign, the focus shifted to North Waziristan where the same performance was repeated. During the operation, more evidences were gathered which cleared all doubts that India is behind all the terrorist activities being held in Pakistan. PAF deployed F-16s, Mirage ROSE-II, A-5C and JF-17 Thunder fighter jets during these military operations.




PAF F-16s equipped with latest sensors were deployed to strike with pinpoint accuracy
India dream of being a superpower and have the strongest economy in the world. Due to this it cannot afford to fight a conventional war with Pakistan. Similarly any nuclear strike by Pakistan can seal its fate once and for all. Thus it allied with Israel and choose the path where they could kill two birds with a single stone. Defame Islam in the world and destabilize Pakistan which was emerging as a major power in the region. These objectives were met, when Indian agents along with paid mercenaries, disguised as Talibans and Muslim Scholars infiltrated in Pakistan and started creating havoc. India has the largest number of embassies in Afghanistan which are infact training centres of RAW. In these training centres, mercenaries are trained by RAW which then cross the unguarded western border of Pakistan and call themselves as religious fighters.


PAF F-16s taking out terrorist's stronghold
Since 2007 we are at war with an enemy who is afraid to reveal its true identity and has a major aim of destabilizing Pakistan.

Pak Army fighting the terrorists during Swat Operation
Though terrorist activities continued to take place in the major cities of Pakistan, their frequency gradually decreased which is the proof of the success of our military operations. It is very easy to hold a weapon and open fire on unarmed people, but it is very tough to stand in the battlefield and engage the enemy in hand to hand combat. While the Pakistan Armed Forces faced their enemy in the battlefield, the coward enemy continued its cowardice by targeting civilians and unarmed government and military officials in terrorist activities.

Pak Army Cobra Gunship helicopter returning from a highly successfull mission

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