Why I Pray the IAF Disclosure Doesn’t Set a Poor Precedent

As I woke up in the morning today, the ritual of checking the phone was the first thing happened. And as I unlocked it, the first Google News flash appeared “Amid Calls For Proof, Air Force Shows Radar Images Of Pak F-16 Encounter” from NDTV. IAF held a press conference where they showed radar images and electronic signatures of the IAF aircraft MiG-21 Bison and the three F-16 aircraft of PAF, one of which went off the radar, indicating it being destroyed. This was further substantiated with the initial claim by the Pakistan armed forces as well as PM Imran Khan himself when they declared that two IAF pilots were captured but it turned out it was only one. The information about the other pilot was suppressed cleverly.

While the junta rejoiced at this news, as I could read from the Twitter reactions, my heart sank a little.

I just hope this doesn’t end up becoming a bad precedent set by IAF because now, for every operation in future, there will be proofs sought and this example will be provided to ensure the proof-giving-exercise happens every time. Information that should not be public, would be made public and that is not a good sign for national security. It pained me to see that we have reduced ourselves to a nation that is seeking proof from our armed forces of their heroism.

It is sad that, within India, we have people who are asking these questions under the pretext of questioning the government but their questions are essentially directed at the armed forces. Their worry is not the national security but ensuring that the slightest benefit of these actions do not end up benefiting the present government, even if it means helping the enemy state. This questioning comes at the cost of national security.

While, to the relevant international/foreign organizations and governments, IAF and the Indian government may still need to provide the proofs, it should still be an administrative and secured communication and not public. We may need to send the proof to Pentagon since the US made aircraft are involved in the whole episode but what is the need to distribute such information through a press conference?

Firstly, this kind of technical information hardly understood in it’s purest forms by the general public. Secondly, such information can expose our capabilities to unwanted entities, which is not good for our security. While, I am pretty sure IAF would take care of the second point, but as a citizen, I would still not want them to waste their time in ensuring only the relevant information is distributed. Thirdly, there is absolutely no need for any kind of information about the military operation specifics to be distributed in the general public. There is a reason why this kind of information is kept secret.

People say that it is their right to question the government. If they really want to question the government, the questions should be regarding the lapse in the internal security that led to Pulwama attack and what the government is doing to prevent it in the future? What did the government do and did not do to prevent the attack? Since when did the government have the information on the Balakot terrorist camp? If it was before the attack itself, what took the government so long to act on it?

Unfortunately, instead, questions that require sensitive information to be disclosed are asked because people know that when they will be refused they can easily mask military secrecy as something fishy which opens the doors for them to create stories that suit their agenda.

I would just want to end this by apologizing to IAF as we, the Indian citizens, failed to uphold our nation’s security to the highest levels. While we give sermons about freedom of speech, we fail miserably at the responsibility of speech.

Featured Image Source: Zee News

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Say No to #SayNoToWar

Okay, the objective of this article is not to advocate for nor it is to say that war is good. Of course, war has always had a devastating effect on any country irrespective of whether it loses or wins. But still, it is to be fought nevertheless, when imposed.
I saw in the days following the air strikes by India on Pakistan’s terrorist groups, that the #SayNoToWar was trending in India. Now, I find it ironic that people tell India to say no to war. It is like telling Sachin Tendulkar, not to sledge.

If people know India’s history, India has never been at war by itself. It has always been imposed by other nations, mostly Pakistan. And if people know the world history, even the most peaceful nations of today’s times like Japan and the Netherlands have a history of territorial expansion and colonization. India has never ventured into those areas. So, when India should be the one teaching peace across the world, it is truly ironic that the country, having a bloodiest possible past and present, is trying to sermon India about peace. And it is unfortunate that some misguided people in India are falling for that.

Another point often made when asking India to be peaceful and tolerant of the things one should not be, is that India is the nation of Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi is often quoted to alleviate any kind of aggressive defense India shows when its integrity and sovereignty is threatened by external forces. History, designed by Nehru-Gandhi (not Mahatma Gandhi) family kept Gandhiji at the center stage of everything, especially education. It was often shown that India is Gandhi and Gandhi is India and that nobody else mattered. But, as much as this country belongs to Mahatma Gandhi, it also belongs to Chandragupta Maurya, Maharana Pratap, Chhatrapati Shivaji, Bhagat Singh, Rani Lakshmi Bai, Mangal Pandey and Netaji Subash Chandra Bose (and numerous others).

Our education system also changed the definition of violence and non-violence based on Gandhi’s perspective. Self-defense and taking up arms to protect its citizens is not violence. People who think India has been traditionally non-violent in absolute terms, as always been tried to project, do not know about the history of India.

This is the country that has never hesitated in taking up arms to prevent wrongdoing. This is the country whose history teaches us to not even hesitate to fight against your own brothers for the protection of dharma. And when I say dharma, I do not mean religion. That is not the interpretation of dharma in this part of the world. In Hinduism, Dharma is righteousness. It is not religion. Dharma is essentially doing the right thing. It asks us to keep aside our biases and look at what is necessary for terms of action, which we call karma.
The post-independence education and policies of India essentially developed a misguided concept that nonviolence is absolute – a principal difference between Gandhiji and other freedom fighters such as Bhagat Singh. That was precisely the reason why, after the initial years of Independence, Indian polity never really focused to build a strong army and instead just assumed that because we are a peaceful nation, nobody will attack us. That myth was broken by China within 15 years of Independence. Unfortunately, it came at a great cost of the precious lives of our brave soldiers who gave the supreme sacrifice in the war of 1962. India learned it a hard way that strength respects only strength.

People who know India’s history know very well that nonviolence can never be absolute. Even the saints in ancient India had knowledge of weapons and used them skillfully. They very well knew that as much as good exists in the world, evil does too. And it is up to the people, who do good, to eliminate the evil as well. And you cannot eliminate evil with non-violence. Lord Ram had to wage a war against Ravan. Even Lord Krishna had to wrestle Kans to kill him. The history of Hastinapur, today’s Delhi, would have been very different (in a negative sense), had the Pandavs not taking up arms against their own brothers in Kurukshetra.

Coming to today’s events, if we look at like what exactly happened, Indian Air Force specifically targeted the attack on the terrorist camps in Pakistan. Civilian areas and military establishments were carefully avoided. And even the attack on the terrorist camp was conducted because there was an apparent threat to India’s security. And even the rest of the countries of the world have acknowledged India’s right to protect itself from these terrorist organizations irrespective of where they are based. So, India essentially has waged a war on terrorism, not Pakistan.

And, instead of giving our opinion based on the minuscule amount of information we have compared to our armed forces, we should blindly trust, and I say it categorically that we should blindly trust, our armed forces to make a decision on whether to go on war or not. Just as advocating war is wrong, so is absolutely opposing it is.