Saturday, March 2, 2019

Balakot & Kashmir: Fact Checkers Expose Indian Lies

Indian government and media have made a series of false claims about Balakot "militant casualties" and "shooting down Pakistani F16". Both of these claims have been scrutinized and debunked by independent journalists, experts and fact checkers. There is no dispute about the fact that Squadron Leader Hasan Siddiqui of Pakistan Air Force (PAF), flying a Pakistan-made JF-17 fighter, shot down Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of Indian Air Force (IAF) flying a Russia made MiG 21. Abhinandan was captured by Pakistan and then released to India.

Pakistani F-16:

PAF's Hasan Siddiqui (above) shot down IAF's Wing Commander Abhi (below)
Indian government and media claimed that an Indian Air Force pilot shot down a Pakistani F-16 on February 26, 2019 over Kashmir. This claim and the evidence offered were examined by Belling Cat, a fact-check site that successfully investigated the downing of a Malaysian passenger jet over Ukraine. Belling Cat's Veli-Pekka Kivimäkithere concluded that "no compelling evidence offered as of yet that an F-16 would have been shot down, and all signs point to MiG-21 wreckage having been on display thus far".

Abhijit Aiyar Mitra, an Indian aviation expert participating in an India Today TV Show, embarrassed the show host on a live show when asked to identify a wrecked engine as being an F-16 engine. The expert correctly stated that Pakistani F-16s are equipped with Pratt and Whitney engines and what the TV host was calling a Pakistani F-16 engine was made by a different manufacturer.

Both Kivimäki and Mitra concluded that the image offered as evidence of Pakistani F-16 engine was in fact from a MiG 21 wreckage.

Balakot Casualties:

Announcing the Indian air strikes in Pakistan, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale claimed the strike killed “a very large number of Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists, trainers, senior commanders, and groups of jihadis who were being trained for Fidayeen action were eliminated.” Another senior government official told reporters that about 300 militants had been killed.

The Indian government claim was soon followed by a video clip purportedly capturing a portion of that air strike on social media. Fact Check site snopes.com analyzed this video and declared the Indian claim "false".

Reuter reporters visited the target area in Balkot in Pakistan and talked to an eyewitness who said, “No one died. Only some pine trees died, they were cut down. A crow also died.” Here's an excerpt from the Reuter's report:

People in the area said Jaish-e Mohammad did have a presence, running not an active training camp but a madrassa, or religious school, less than a kilometer from where the bombs fell. “It is Taleem ul Quran madrassa. The kids from the village study there. There is no training,” said Nooran Shah, another villager.

Indian Warplane Down:

There is no dispute about the fact that Squadron Leader Hasan Siddiqui of Pakistan Air Force (PAF), flying a Pakistan-made JF-17 fighter, shot down Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of Indian Air Force (IAF) flying a Russia made MiG 21. Abhinandan was captured by Pakistan and then released to India.

Summary:

All of the Indian claims about "JeM militant casualties" and shooting down of Pakistani F-16 have been debunked by independent fact-checkers and foreign media reporting on it.  Villagers in Balakot told Reuters that "Only some pine trees died, they were cut down. A crow also died.”  Belling Cat's Veli-Pekka Kivimäkithere and Indian analyst Abhijit Mitra have said that the images of the wreckage being offered as proof of downed F-16 are in fact from MiG-21. There is no dispute about the fact that Squadron Leader Hasan Siddiqui of Pakistan Air Force (PAF), flying a Pakistan-made JF-17 fighter, shot down Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of Indian Air Force (IAF) flying a Russia made MiG 21. Abhinandan was captured by Pakistan and then released to India.

Here's a video clip of Indian aviation expert Abhijit Mitra embarrassing his India Today host:

https://youtu.be/FJ8MmTvRZ8Q




28 comments:

Monis R. said...

Good and needed writeup

Ahmad F. said...

There is little doubt that India has totally made a fool of itself. Modi should have resigned. But Pakistan should not underestimate India. We don’t want a repeat of the elation that followed the Rann of Kutch episode and then proceeded with the disastrous adventures, Operation Gibraltar and Operation Grand Slam in Kashmir which led to a full scale war in September 1965.

Riaz Haq said...

Ahmad: " Pakistan should not underestimate India"


In this instance, it's Modi and India being delusional. It's absolutely necessary for Pakistan to remind them of the reality. https://www.riazhaq.com/2015/10/indias-superpower-delusions-modis.html

Riaz Haq said...

"Desh Ka Bahut Nuksaan Hua Hai" Says #Modi on Losing to #Pakistan. #India #Balakot #Kashmir https://youtu.be/QIt0EAAr3PU via @YouTube

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has suffered badly after his military's failures in Balakot and Kashmir. Not only did Indian air strikes fail but India lost aircraft and had one of its pilots captured in Kashmir.

Javed E. said...

An analysis based on Remote Sensing Satellite Imagery and ground Captutured images https://medium.com/dfrlab/surgical-strike-in-pakistan-a-botched-operation-7f6cda834b24?smid=nytcore-ios-share


"Using open-source evidence and satellite imagery, @DFRLab was able to confirm the location of the Indian airstrike to be near Balakot, rather than inside it, and firmly within Pakistani territory. The target was supposedly a JEM-led madrassa, but @DFRLab was unable to confirm that any bombs reached buildings associated with it.

The SPICE-2000 is a precision-guided bomb that should not miss its target by the approximately 100 meters that the impact craters were from the nearest structures. The autonomous nature of the SPICE-2000 adds mystery to why the bombs seemed to miss. Satellite imagery did not suggest that any damage was inflicted to nearby buildings. Vegetation and low imagery resolution could hypothetically obscure structural damage, but this remains highly improbably. Something appears to have gone wrong in the targeting process — exactly what, however, remains unclear in the open-source evidence."

Nayyer Ali said...

What I found puzzling is the Indian use of a Mig-21. This is an ancient aircraft from the 1960's Cold War era. It should not be flying in combat conditions with modern fighters that would have no problem engaging it. The JF-17, while not as good as modern F-16 or the newer F-35, is a competent modern jet. India has better aircraft in its Air Force, and given the need to avoid embarrassing loss of planes over Pakistan, it is odd they used a Mig-21.

Riaz Haq said...

Paper elephant: #Modi's #India spends a fortune on #military and gets poor value for money. At $62billion, it has swept past that of its ex colonial master #UK. #Balakot #Pakistan #Kashmir #PakistanLeadsWithPeace #AbhinandanReturns https://www.economist.com/asia/2018/03/28/india-spends-a-fortune-on-defence-and-gets-poor-value-for-money via @TheEconomist

For nearly a decade India has also been the world’s top importer of arms. In terms of active manpower and the number of ships and planes, its armed forces are already among the world’s top five.

Measured by ambition, India may rank higher still. Its military doctrine envisages fighting simultaneous land wars against Pakistan and China while retaining dominance in the Indian Ocean. Having revealed its nuclear hand in 1998 with a series of tests, India has developed its own ground-hugging cruise missiles and is trying to perfect submarine-launched intercontinental ones, too. Since the Hindu nationalist party of the prime minister, Narendra Modi, took power in 2014 it has also adopted a more muscular posture. Last summer it sparred with China atop the Himalayas in the tensest stand-off in decades. It has also responded to cross-border raids by militant groups from Pakistan not with counterinsurgency tactics and diplomatic ire, but with fierce artillery strikes against Pakistani forces.

Anonymous said...

I am waiting for Modi's response. He can not afford to be seen as weak, specially during election season.

Also, please check this:
https://tribune.com.pk/story/1921809/6-delhi-in-disneyland/

Zamir

Riaz Haq said...

After #India Loses Dogfight to #Pakistan, Questions Arise About Its #Military. Its loss of a plane last week to a country whose military is about half the size and receives a quarter of the funding is telling. #Kashmir #PakistanStrikesBack https://nyti.ms/2VwWjmz

India’s armed forces are in alarming shape.

It was an inauspicious moment for a military the United States is banking on to help keep an expanding China in check.

An Indian Air Force pilot found himself in a dogfight last week with a warplane from the Pakistani Air Force, and ended up a prisoner behind enemy lines for a brief time.

The pilot made it home in one piece, however bruised and shaken, but the plane, an aging Soviet-era MiG-21, was less lucky.

The aerial clash, the first by the South Asian rivals in nearly five decades, was a rare test for the Indian military — and it left observers a bit dumbfounded. While the challenges faced by the India’s armed forces are no secret, its loss of a plane last week to a country whose military is about half the size and receives a quarter of the funding was still telling.

India’s armed forces are in alarming shape.

If intense warfare broke out tomorrow, India could supply its troops with only 10 days of ammunition, according to government estimates. And 68 percent of the army’s equipment is so old, it is officially considered “vintage.”

“Our troops lack modern equipment, but they have to conduct 21st-century military operations,” said Gaurav Gogoi, a lawmaker and member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defense.

American officials tasked with strengthening the alliance talk about their mission with frustration: a swollen bureaucracy makes arms sales and joint training exercises cumbersome; Indian forces are vastly underfunded; and the country’s navy, army and air force tend to compete rather than work together.

Whatever the problems, the United States is determined to make the country a key ally in the coming years to hedge against China’s growing regional ambition.

Last year, when Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced that the Pentagon was renaming its Pacific Command — to Indo-Pacific — he emphasized India’s importance in a shifting world order.

Riaz Haq said...

#India and The Cult of #Stupidity. It pledges unquestioning allegiance and absolute devotion to its leader #Modi. The great bulk of its ire is on universities of higher learning and attacks institutes of liberal education. #BJP #Hindutva https://thewire.in/society/india-and-the-cult-of-stupidity via @thewire_in
By Rohit Kumar

I have been searching for the longest time for the right words to describe something oppressive, pervasive and utterly bewildering that seems to have taken over large parts of Indian society over the last five years. I finally found the term I was looking for in the pages of a recently released collection of essays edited by Professor Apoorvanand called The Idea of a University.

Those words are “the cult of stupidity.” A blunt term to be sure, but an accurate one.

According to Prof Alok Rai, one of the contributing authors in this book,

“A great and aggressive cult of stupidity seems to have taken over the world. (…) The distrust of intellectuals, of people who have cultivated nuance and sophistication, (and) laboriously acquired an appreciation of complexity …”

The cult of stupidity has certainly spread across India. Like any other cult worth its name, this one, too, pledges unquestioning allegiance and absolute devotion to its leader – a demigod who can do no wrong, who despite his most glaring incompetencies and character flaws, is seen as the great answer to all the ills of the land.

Like other cults, this one also envisages a glorious new India where non-cult members will be bowed and subservient, and has apocalyptic visions of what could happen if they won’t. (The thought of co-existing harmoniously with ‘The Other’ does not cross its mind).

Most crucially, this cult, too, only sees the world in binaries – us vs. them, in-group vs. out-group, patriot vs. traitor – and pronounces judgment on those who refuse to see India as it does. This is why it actively resists and attacks those who look beyond binaries, who question why things are so, and who challenge established narratives and the status quo. That is also why it focuses the great bulk of its ire on universities of higher learning and attacks institutes of liberal education.

And lastly and most amazingly, the cult of stupidity only considers itself wise and everyone else stupid. How is such a thing even possible? The answer might lie in what Charles Darwin once said – “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”

The Dunning-Kruger effect

More recently, in the late 1990s, a couple of social psychologists, David Dunning and Justin Kruger, shed light on a type of cognitive bias in which people believe that they are smarter and more capable than they really are, but in reality lack the intelligence or awareness to recognise their own lack of intelligence and awareness. – A sadder or more apt description of the cult of stupidity would be hard to find.

Dunning and Kruger performed a series of experiments and found that people who scored in the lowest percentiles on tests of grammar, humour, and logic also tended to dramatically overestimate how well they had performed. (Their actual test scores placed them in the 12th percentile, yet they estimated that their performance had placed them in the 62nd percentile.)

Incompetent people, the researchers found, are not only poor performers, they are also unable to accurately assess and recognise the quality of their own work. These low performers were also unable to recognise the skill and competence levels of other people, which is part of the reason why they consistently view themselves as better, more capable, and more knowledgeable than others.

Riaz Haq said...

After Pulwama, the Indian media proves it is the BJP's propaganda ...
Washington Post-Mar 4, 2019
Suchitra Vijayan is the executive director of the Polis Project. Vasundhara Sirnate Drennan is director of research at the Polis Project.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/

Riaz Haq said...

#India-#Pakistan Conflict a Parade of #Lies. The lies began immediately after Indian forces attacked what they described as a terrorist training camp in #Balakot. They offered no visual proof but Indian #media filled in a government-friendly narrative.
https://nyti.ms/2SNrXdV

The lies began immediately after Indian forces attacked what they described as a terrorist training camp in a Pakistani town called Balakot. The Indian government offered no visual proof of the effectiveness of its strikes, and there is still debate among Indian politicians about what was hit. Pakistan’s military quickly put out pictures from Balakot showing not much damage.

Indian media, however, appeared eager to fill in a government-friendly narrative. As the Indian fact-checking site Alt News documented, several outlets, including some of the country’s largest TV news networks, aired what they described as exclusive footage of Indian fighter jets attacking Balakot.


Riaz Haq said...

High Res #Satellite Imagery Suggests #India's #Balakot Airstrike a 'Very Precise Miss'. Images acquired by #European Space Imaging day after the strike suggests that buildings at the camp were not visibly damaged or destroyed. #Pakistan https://thewire.in/security/balakot-airstrike-miss-satellite-imagery via @thewire_in

Indian news media outlets have cited unnamed ‘senior military officers’ as saying that the Indian Air Force used the Israeli SPICE 2000 weapon to target four buildings at a terrorist camp in Balakot. The SPICE 2000 is the Israeli analogue of the US JDAM (joint direct attack munition), the weapon that has become the mainstay of coalition airstrikes in the Middle East. The SPICE 2000 is essentially a strap-on guidance kit that can transform a 2,000-pound ‘dumb’ bomb into a very precise way to deliver more than 400 kilograms of high explosives at a range of up to 60 kilometres. The weapon can be both GPS- and electro-optically guided. A 2,000-pound bomb causes substantial damage to structures.


Controversy has raged over whether India hit its intended targets. The Indian narrative has insisted that the strikes did hit their targets, ‘killing a large number of terrorists’. Indian Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa remarked, ‘If we plan to hit the target, we hit the target.’

The Indian narrative has also suggested that the strike used a SPICE 2000 variant with a reduced amount of explosive and the ability to penetrate through several floors of a building and even underground before detonating. This argument claims that such a weapon would only create a small entry hole and, while it would kill all occupants, it wouldn’t destroy the target building.

However, publicly available imagery acquired by European Space Imaging the day after the strike suggests that buildings at the camp were not visibly damaged or destroyed (see image below). This imagery, which is of a higher resolution than that available previously, shows conspicuously undamaged roofs that are not consistent with either a SPICE 2000 strike or a strike with other munitions. We believe that even a weapon with reduced explosive fill would cause damage to buildings that would be identifiable in the satellite imagery.

Riaz Haq said...

Microsoft survey: #India topping #fakenews menace globally, more pains likely ahead of polls - #BJP #Modi

https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/india/microsoft-survey-india-topping-fake-news-menace-globally-more-pains-likely-ahead-of-polls-3488761.html


Interestingly, the survey finds that there has been a sharp 9 percentage points increase in family and friends spreading online risks to 29 percent.

Internet users in the country are more likely to encounter fake news online than the global average and social circles are increasingly spreading risks, says a global survey.

The Microsoft survey, covering 22 countries and coming a few months ahead of the general elections, shows that as many as 64 percent of the Indians surveyed have encountered fake news as against the global average of 57 per cent.

The country is ahead of the global average on Internet hoaxes with 54 percent of those surveyed reporting so and also instances of phishing or spoofing at 42 per cent, Microsoft said in a statement Tuesday.

Interestingly, the survey finds that there has been a sharp 9 percentage points increase in family and friends spreading online risks to 29 percent.

"Social circles became riskier in India," the survey said, adding the jump to 29 percent has taken the country a little over the global average.

Indians are also higher than global average when it comes to reporting of severe pain from online risks, with 52 percent saying so as against the global average of 28 percent.

In what only complicates the matter, the country saw increased consequences from risks and little positive action taken following online risk exposure, the survey said.

"Indians match the worldwide trend for consequences and were more likely to say that they were stressed and lost sleep in the latest year versus the previous year's study," the survey said.

India also showed drop in positive actions taken following online risk exposure and are less likely to pause before replying to someone whom they disagreed with online. Millennials and teenagers are the hardest hit by online risks and also sought help online, it said.

Riaz Haq said...

Facebook, Twitter sucked into India-Pakistan information war
Drazen Jorgic, Alasdair Pal

https://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFKCN1RE18V

ISLAMABAD/NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Pakistani social media campaigner Hanzala Tayyab leads about 300 ultra-nationalist cyber warriors fighting an internet war with arch-foe India, in a battle that is increasingly sucking in global tech giants such as Twitter and Facebook.

---------------

In India, similar nationalist groups are popping up and pushing to purge and punish those who they perceive to be critical of India – or supportive of Pakistan – on social media.

One such group, Clean the Nation, says its actions have resulted in more than 50 people who had posted what it called anti-India comments and remarks critical of India’s armed forces being arrested or suspended from work or education.

“This is our motherland and if someone is abusing people who are protecting our motherland, actually fighting on the ground, I don’t believe they should be allowed to work here or allowed to live here,” Rahul Kaushik, one of co-founders the group, told Reuters. “This is a clear case of treason, in our view.”

--------------------

With a combined population of 1.5 billion, India and Pakistan are hot growth markets for Facebook and Twitter, say analysts.

But with many rival ultra-nationalist and extremist groups in the region using Facebook and Twitter platforms to advance their political agenda, both companies face accusations of bias whenever they suspend accounts.

Facebook has been buffeted by controversies across the globe in recent years, including for not stopping the use of fake accounts to try to sway public opinion in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election and Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, and for not acting to stamp out hate speech on its platform that was fuelling ethnic violence in Myanmar.

Four Facebook and more than 20 Twitter accounts belonging to members of the Pakistan Cyber Force have been shuttered in the past two months, according to Tayyab, who is still angry at Twitter for shutting down his previous personal account in 2016.

A Twitter spokeswoman said: “We believe in impartiality and do not take any actions based on political viewpoints.”

Riaz Haq said...

#UnitedStates officials say no #Pakistan #F16 shot down by #India. Yet another #Modi lie exposed. #Balakot #Kashmir

https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/04/04/did-india-shoot-down-a-pakistani-jet-u-s-count-says-no/

India’s claim that one of its fighter pilots shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet in an aerial battle between the two nuclear powers in February appears to be wrong. Two senior U.S. defense officials with direct knowledge of the situation told Foreign Policy that U.S. personnel recently counted Islamabad’s F-16s and found none missing.

The findings directly contradict the account of Indian Air Force officials, who said that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman managed to shoot down a Pakistani F-16 before his own plane was downed by a Pakistani missile.

---

The news comes just days before the start of India’s general elections, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking another term in office. In the weeks leading up to the election, tensions between India and Pakistan escalated to levels not seen in decades after a Pakistan-based militant group killed more than 40 Indian security officers in a Feb. 14 suicide bombing in India-controlled Kashmir. Both sides have been accused of spreading disinformation and fanning nationalistic flames.

Although the news likely won’t sway Indian voters, Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT, said the way the events have unfolded may affect India’s efforts to deter Pakistan in the future.

“As details come out, it looks worse and worse for the Indians,” Narang said. “It looks increasingly like India failed to impose significant costs on Pakistan, but lost a plane and a helicopter of its own in the process.”

The dogfight between the two nations occurred on Feb. 27, when India says a group of Pakistani jets entered its airspace in response to the first Indian air raid on Pakistani territory since a 1971 war. India scrambled its own jets and gave chase. During the aerial battle that ensued, Varthaman took a missile hit and ejected safely into Pakistani territory.

He was captured by the Pakistani army and released days later in an effort to de-escalate the crisis.

One of the senior U.S. defense officials with direct knowledge of the count said that Pakistan invited the United States to physically count its F-16 planes after the incident as part of an end-user agreement signed when the foreign military sale was finalized. Generally in such agreements, the United States requires the receiving country to allow U.S. officials to inspect the equipment regularly to ensure it is accounted for and protected.

Some of the aircraft were not immediately available for inspection due to the conflict, so it took U.S. personnel several weeks to account for all of the jets, the official said.

But now the count has been completed, and “all aircraft were present and accounted for,” the official said.

A second senior U.S. defense official with knowledge of the count confirmed that U.S. authorities on the ground found that no Pakistani F-16s were missing.

Evidence suggests that Pakistan’s F-16s were involved in the battle. The remnants of a U.S.-made AIM-120 air-to-air missile was found near the site; out of all the aircraft involved, only the F-16 can shoot such a weapon.

When the incident occurred, India asked the U.S. government to investigate whether Pakistan’s use of the F-16 against India violated the terms of the foreign military sale agreements.

However, the first defense official said the agreement did not involve any terms limiting the use of the F-16s.

“It would be incredibly naive for us to believe that we could sell some type of equipment to Pakistan that they would not intend to use in a fight,” the official said.

The U.S. State Department and the Indian and Pakistani embassies declined to comment.

Riaz Haq said...

Tweet from Prof Christopher Clary:

Some people say the US knows it lost an F-16 but can’t admit it for commercial/pride reasons. Let me just say that Pakistan has many enemies in the US bureaucracy and even more on the Hill, and I think if Pakistan lost an F-16 they would gleefully leak it.

https://twitter.com/clary_co/status/1114115919586963457

Riaz Haq said...

From Asif Ghafoor ISPR

IAF claim of hitting F-16 by their Mig 21 before having been shot down by PAF gets exposed. All 4 missile seeker heads recovered intact from the wreckage & held. Pakistan and its professional Armed Forces staying humble by not drum beating. We have more truth on this to share.


https://twitter.com/OfficialDGISPR/status/1114192487210524672

Riaz Haq said...

"Post-#Pulwama, the #Indian media’s discourse has routinely ignored that the #Kashmiri context is one of structural violence emanating from an occupation, leaving it ripe for churning out more extremists like Adil Dar. " #Pakistan #Balakot #Modi #Kashmir https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-04-08/elections-loom-indias-modi-vows-end-terrorism-kashmir-more-military-force

“India uses exceptional violence as well as nationalist propaganda around Kashmir and presents it as a Pakistan-sponsored Islamist problem and the media in the country is mostly complicit with it,” says Nitasha Kaul, an assistant professor of politics and international relations at the University of Westminster in London.

Kashmir has been a disputed territory following the partition of India and Pakistan into independent states in 1947. Since then, three of the four Indo-Pakistani wars have been fought over this ideological slab of Himalayan real estate.

Despite international accounts of ongoing human rights violations, the Indian government has failed to recognize its decades-long occupation and suppression of Kashmiris as a root cause of extremism.

Controlling the narrative
The day following the Pulwama suicide attack, India withdrew Pakistan’s Most Favored Nation trade status. Then, Pakistan denied India’s “kneejerk” accusations of involvement and recalled its ambassador as tensions mounted.

Modi, facing pressure to maintain the upper hand as he heads into elections, responded to public indignation by ordering pre-emptive “surgical strikes” on alleged terror camps in Balakot, inside Pakistani territory, on Feb. 26.

Pakistan retaliated the next day by downing two aircraft that encroached into its airspace and captured Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman. For a fleeting moment, tit-for-tat incursions appeared to draw New Delhi and Islamabad into a reckless bout of one-upmanship.

In a gesture of de-escalation, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan offered the IAF pilot’s release on March 1, and Varthaman was hailed as a national hero.


When it comes to reporting the conflict, the international media have “bought into the idea that this is an intractable territorial conflict between India and Pakistan and so long as the prospect of war between the nuclear-armed neighbors recedes, their focus on the suffering of Kashmiris seems largely nonexistent,” Kaul says.

The issue is that both India and Pakistan see Kashmir as an integral part of their national identities, which results in a “classic case of the forgetting of tremendous and long-enduring human suffering and of privileging of territorial statist narratives," according to Kaul.

This has led to Kashmir being distilled through purely a nationalist lens. “Much of the Indian media’s attitude towards Kashmir can be summed up in one line: Your history gets in the way of my national interest," Indian Kashmiri novelist Mirza Waheed told The World.

The imposition of the 1990 Armed Forces Special Powers Act, or AFSPA, bestowed Indian forces with broad powers to kill and arrest Kashmiris with impunity, resulting in human rights violations carried out during counterinsurgency operations, coupled with wrongful detentions without court orders under the 1978 Public Safety Act, which Amnesty International has denounced.

The period of the early 2000s did little to tackle the fundamental question of independence. New Delhi’s military occupation remained firmly embedded and infiltrated the everyday life of Kashmiris.

In the last three years alone, the Kashmiri death toll has reached over a thousand, with 2018 being the deadliest of the past decade.


Riaz Haq said...

In 2017, #Modi's #India accounted for about 70% of #internet shutdowns globally. There have been more than 300 reported shutdowns in India over the past six years. (there could be a lot more unreported shutdowns.) #censorship https://slate.com/technology/2019/04/india-internet-shutdowns-digital-authoritarianism-democracies.html via @slate

This disproportionate state response matters because it can come with costs, both social and economic. Observers can see the former because misused internet shutdowns can affect individuals’ ability to express even unpopular opinions freely—a right enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reaffirmed in a 2012 Human Rights Council declaration, which extended protections to both offline and online spaces.

Consider how, in September 2012, after a viral video began to anger Muslims in the Kashmir Valley, the regional government of Jammu and Kashmir ordered telecommunications companies to restrict access to YouTube and Facebook there. But the telecom operators chose to overcomply, and they disrupted access to the entire internet, rather than to specific websites. While done for the sake of security—protests erupted as the video circulated—it isn’t a stretch to see how this overly broad latitude could be used to censor any opinion perceived as unpopular.

As for the economic cost, a recent study on shutdowns in India—conducted by the think tank ICRIER—finds that, from 2012 through 2017, 16,315 shutdown hours cost the country’s economy approximately $3.04 billion. This is hardly ideal for a country that yearns to cement its place as a major power on the international stage.

On top of that, a shutdown goes directly against the government’s Digital India initiative, which attempts to promote a cashless economy. This is because a cornerstone of the e-commerce industry is access to open and reliable internet. (Notably, an Indian ride-hailing operator, Ola Cabs, has created an “offline” variation of its app for areas that experience intermittent internet connectivity.)

Riaz Haq said...

International Civil Aviation Organization (#ICAO) data shows #Pakistani closed #airspace was affecting as many as 350 flights daily after #India #Pakistan air skirmishes over #Kashmir #Balakot. #Pakistan lies in the middle of a vital #aviation corridor. https://graphics.reuters.com/INDIA-KASHMIR-AIRLINES/010091M92G7/index.html

Pakistan continues to restrict its airspace after an air strike in late February by the Indian military in northern Pakistan. The disruption is forcing international airlines to take costly and time-consuming detours to the north and south, adding flight time for passengers and fuel costs for airlines.

Hundreds of commercial and cargo flights are affected each day. Reuters counted 311 such flights between four airports in Europe and four in Southeast Asia.

Pakistan lies in the middle of a vital aviation corridor. In the week before the air space was closed, almost all the flights analysed passed directly over Pakistan, some coming extremely close the Kashmir region - the epicentre of tensions with India - including aircraft operated by Singapore Airlines, British Airways, Lufthansa and Thai Airways, according to flight tracking service FlightRadar24. Routes that run through Pakistan on a north-south axis are not affected.

OPSGROUP, which monitors international flight operations, used International Civil Aviation Organization data to calculate that the closed airspace was affecting as many as 350 flights daily. Most rerouted as far south as Oman’s airspace, the group said.

Flight information regions (FIR) are how airspace is divided up for control. Pakistan has two: Karachi and Lahore. They, and the Kabul FIR, have seen a notable drop in air traffic since the conflict. Muscat, however, has seen an increase.

Flights between Europe and Southeast Asia are still suffering from the disruption. The group of 311 flights that Reuters analysed has taken different routes to avoid Pakistan, according to FlightRadar24.

OPSGROUP calculates that routing south to Oman, passing through the Muscat flight information region, adds about 280 miles (451 kilometres) to a flight from London to Singapore and 410 miles from Paris to Bangkok.

Lengthy delays
Reuters analysed flight time data from FlightRadar24 for several routes from Europe to Southeast Asia. For each individual route, 14 flights prior to Feb. 27, the day air space was closed, were compared to 14 recent flights prior to April 9.

Some flights are consistently delayed. KLM, Lufthansa and Thai Airways flights are taking up to two hours longer than before the conflict

Riaz Haq said...

#India's Air Force making excuses for failures against #Pakistan Air Force. Claims #tech failures in aerial battles with Pakistan. #IAF says Pakistan “has been consistently enhancing its air defense and offensive capabilities.” #Balakot #Kashmir – https://www.rt.com/news/457701-iaf-report-admits-failures-pakistan/

Airstrikes against ‘terrorist’ targets in Pakistan and subsequent aerial battles with Islamabad’s warplanes would have been more successful if India had better technology, a service report cited by local media admits.
The Indian Air Force’s ‘lessons learnt’ assessment primarily covered February’s retaliatory airstrike on a suspected jihadist training camp in Balakot, Pakistan, resulting in a military flare-up with its neighbor. It found that IAF warplanes would have been able to do serious damage to their Pakistani adversaries – if they had access to weapons capable of doing so in the first place.

The wording of the report was somewhat careful about admitting this fact openly, suggesting that they would have been able to compete with their opponents more effectively if they had possessed “technological asymmetry.”

A litany of technical issues was found to have hampered the IAF’s combat prowess. On top of problems integrating new weapons with the available hardware, one of the fighter jet’s missiles apparently failed to deploy from the aircraft altogether due to issues with its navigation system. The same issue had featured in an earlier embarrassing report which suggested that India had likely shot down its own helicopter with a malfunctioning missile while attempting to target encroaching enemy craft.

The latest review also noted that since 1999’s Kargil War, Pakistan “has been consistently enhancing its air defense and offensive capabilities,” demonstrated in the recent clashes by their use of F-16 fighter jets, giving Islamabad an edge. India’s hardware, meanwhile, has become increasingly outdated.


“We felt we could not punish the adversaries appropriately. So we need to bolster technological asymmetry so that the enemy does not even dare to come close to the border,” one source told India’s Economic Times. While things didn’t go exactly as expected, the report reminds readers that “no battle plan ever survives the first contact with the enemy.”

India also maintained that it carried out the assault into Pakistani airspace in order to strike a training facility used by the terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), which had carried out an attack in Pulwama, killing 40 Indian troops. However, Pakistan has consistently denied the existence of such camps, and said that the raid had merely destroyed some trees.

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi's suspect #GDP numbers have done real damage. #India's actual GDP growth between 2012 and 2017, according to Arvind Subramanian’s working paper for #Harvard U., may have been 2.5% lower than the official 7% rate...closer to 4.5%. http://www.ecoti.in/NAkSVb via @economictimes

This week, a top former government adviser (Arvind Subramanian) provided a statistical estimate. The actual GDP growth rate between 2012 and 2017, according to Arvind Subramanian’s working paper for Harvard University, may have been 2.5 percentage points lower than the official 7% rate.

India’s level of economic output may be overstated by anywhere between 9% and 21%. The issue isn’t whether Subramanian’s technique of looking at other countries’ performance to build a picture of India’s growth is robust. As ..

Riaz Haq said...

After complaints from #Indian users and #Hindu Nationalist government of #India's prime minister #Modi, #Twitter in mid-June 2019 suspended several users and suppressed the #truth about #Indian-#Pakistani military conflict. https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/india-trying-suppress-military-analysts-twitter-63282

The suspensions targeting the so-called “open-source intelligence,” or OSINT, community raises serious questions about Twitter’s commitment to fairness, facts and intellectual freedom. Equally troubling is the Indian government’s apparent influence on a social-media platform with millions of users all over the world.

The accounts Twitter targeted all had one thing in common. They questioned the Indian government’s claims in the aftermath of the brief but intensive aerial clash between Indian and Pakistani warplanes over Kashmir in February 2019.

The battle began when Indian planes on Feb. 26, 2019 attempted to bomb an alleged Pakistani training camp outside Balakot, near the border with Kashmir. Both India and Pakistan claim the mountainous region. Military skirmishes and militant violence are frequent in Kashmir.

At least one Indian warplane, a MiG-21, was destroyed. Pakistani troops briefly held the pilot before repatriating him. New Delhi claimed its own forces shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter, but provided no evidence.

OSINT accounts closely followed the fighting and challenged claims from Indian and Pakistani sources. Open-source intelligence practitioners usually rely on a mix of news reports, social media, commercial satellite imagery and public ship- and flight-tracking software to keep tabs on military operations.

The OSINT analyst with the Twitter handle @ELINTNews the day of the initial Indian air raid questioned India’s claim that its jets shot down an F-16. “No evidence so far to corroborate India’s claim of it downing a Pakistani plane,” ELINTNews noted. By contrast, images quickly appeared on-line confirming Pakistan’s destruction of an Indian MiG.

A count of Pakistani F-16s later confirmed that none were missing.

Months later, India retaliated against the Twitter OSINT community. Reporter Snehesh Alex Philip summarized the situation in a June 18, 2019 story in The Print. “The social media giant has told handles like the popular @ELINTNews, that they’ve been suspended for ‘violating Indian laws.’”


“Seems they're knocking off the big OSINT accounts due to Indian complaints that they're terrorists, or something,” Steffan Watkins, a prominent Canadian OSINT analyst, told The National Interest.

“The move has led to speculation that the Indian Air Force is behind it,” Philip explained. “However, sources in the IAF remained tight-lipped about this development, with some also expressing ignorance.”

A notice Twitter sent to @ELINTNews confirmed that the social-media company had received “official correspondence” that prompted the ban.

Great Game India, a journal based in Hyderabad, celebrated Twitter’s attack on OSINT. “Very welcome step,” the journal tweeted. The journal in May 2019 conducted what one reporter described as an “independent social media tracking operation” and accused OSINT analysts of being fronts for the Pakistani government.

Riaz Haq said...

How incompetent is the #Indian Navy? Read scathing assessment of #US Naval Officer who spent 5 days onboard the Indian Navy warship, INS #Delhi . AMA. - LessCredibleDefence

https://www.reddit.com/r/LessCredibleDefence/comments/9uwqzk/iama_us_naval_officer_who_spent_5_days_onboard/

I see a lot of disappointments/shock in your comments. Were there any positives? Did they have good food?

Actually, their food was excellent. They also made really good tea, too. I drank nothing but hot milk tea my entire 5 days there because I was afraid of drinking the water (I saw their reverse osmosis units, dear god).

How bad was it?

15+ years old and they looked like nobody had done any maintenance in the last 5+ years. Their ROs were in such poor shape that despite having a greater fresh water production capacity than my ship by several thousand gallons, they were still on water hours.

How do they runs things differently then the USN?

Their engineering practices were abysmal. No undershirts, no steel-toed boots - they wore sandals - no hearing protection in their engineering spaces. No lagging (sound dampening material) in any space. No electrical safety whatsoever. No operational risk management. No concept of safety of navigation. Absolutely did not adhere to rules of the road. They more or less did not have any hard-copy written procedures for any exercise or event, at all. They had no concept of the coded fleet tactical system that US coalition forces and allies utilize (they literally made it up as they went along, and when I tried to interject and explain to them how it worked, they ignored me). When I arrived onboard they thought I was a midshipman and treated me as such. I had to be frank and explain that I was a commissioned officer and that yes, I stood officer on the deck onboard my ship and was a qualified surface warfare officer. They don't entrust their people with any responsibility until they are very senior Lieutenants (O-3s) and junior Lieutenant Commanders (O-4s). At this point in the US Navy there are literally guys commanding ships, and these guys couldn't even be trusted to handle a radio circuit.

How knowledgeable did you find the officers to be?

Well, their captain was driving the ship when it came within 50ft of the stern of a USNS replenishment ship and at any given time there were multiple officers on the bridge screaming at each other. They were generally clueless and had almost zero seamanship skills. I found their enlisted guys to be far more competent than their officers on the bridge.

Why do you think they're so incompetent and have such crappy operations?

Well, coming within 50ft of another ship at sea is never a good sign. But, afterwards, the general consensus/excuse that they came up with during their mini-debrief was "oh well, rough seas, better luck next time" not "holy ******* ****, we parted a tensioned wire cable made of braided steel under hundreds of thousands of pounds of tension". And wearing sandals during replenishment/helo ops/boat ops/in engineering spaces pretty much says it all. They legitimately didn't understand why I was wearing steel-toed flight deck boots. Things like these aren't cultural differences, they are golden exhibitions of their sheer lack of common sense and seamanship.

1. Are you breaking any US Navy rules by telling us all this?

2. How did they do in the exercise? Did they get "sunk" five times or what?

3. Were there equivalent Indian Navy personnel on a US Navy ship and do you happen to know their assessment? Were they disappointed by the lack of slaves?

4. Let's say * * * * hits the fan. India and Pakistan (or any other country. Take your pick) are at war and the ship you were on is sent into action. Would they be an effective fighting force or are they on the bottom of the ocean before the first day of shooting? Great AMA btw!

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s ex chief economist Arvind Subramanian to produce new paper to defend his claim India’s #GDP is overestimated. Actual growth was just 4.5% from 2011 to 2017. #Modi #BJP #economy

https://theprint.in/economy/arvind-subramanian-to-produce-new-paper-to-defend-his-claim-indias-gdp-is-overestimated/261668/

Former chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian is set to produce another working paper on GDP estimation, as he looks to address criticism about his claim that India’s GDP was overestimated by 2.5 percentage points.

Subramanian’s previous paper, released last month, had pointed out that India may have only grown at an average of 4.5 per cent in the period 2011-12 and 2016-17, and not 7 per cent as suggested by official estimates.

Using various real sector indicators like exports, credit growth, freight rates and factory output, Subramanian had pointed out that these indicators declined significantly post-2011, but GDP growth rate was hardly affected.

Subramanian’s use of real indicators to measure the GDP came in for severe criticism from economists and statisticians. The Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council had pointed out that the methodology used by Subramanian overlooked tax data and didn’t have adequate services sector representation. The council said the correlation between the indicators and GDP growth could change over time.

Subramanian’s defence
Speaking at an event organised by the National Council of Applied Economic Research, Subramanian defended his GDP overestimation claims, saying his framework attempted “not to estimate but to validate GDP growth estimates”.

Discussing a yet to be released follow-up paper to his earlier study, Subramanian said: “India’s overall GDP deflator is substantially underestimated.”

The average differential between GDP deflator and Consumer Price Index (CPI) has increased considerably between the 2002-11 and 2012-16 periods, with CPI exceeding GDP deflator by 0.6 percentage points pre-2011 and by 2.9 percentage points post it, he noted. This underestimation, he said, could be seen as linked to the real GDP growth rate overestimation.

Both GDP deflator and CPI are measures of inflation, and GDP deflator is used as a divisor to estimate real GDP from its nominal counterpart.

Reacting to the arguments made in the past few weeks — that GDP could have grown as a result of government policies or a productivity surge — he went about demonstrating that none of these factors actually explain the high official GDP growth rates post-2011.

Acknowledging that some of the Modi government’s reforms like GST, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and welfare schemes like cooking gas and toilets have been truly transformative, he said that they cannot adequately explain the growth in GDP.

He also rejected the productivity surge argument. “It is unlikely that a productivity surge could have taken place under UPA-2 with its considerable policy collapse and a mini-crisis prevailing,” he said.

He identified India’s twin balance sheet problem — the NPA crisis facing its banks and the huge debt burden of its corporates — as one of the major shock events that may have impeded growth.

Riaz Haq said...

How the IAF compares with the PAF
Bidanda Chengappa | Updated on March 01, 2019 Published on March 01, 2019

https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/how-the-iaf-compares-with-the-paf/article26411688.ece

The IAF has maintained a numerical edge in terms of fighter aircraft over the PAF of almost 3:1. With depletion of numbers in the IAF’s combat squadrons, this edge is currently down to around 1.4:1. The strength of the combat squadrons will soon drop below 30 squadrons. Once the IAF gets back to its sanctioned strength of 42 squadrons, the edge should evolve to 2:1.

An IAF fighter squadron has 18 operationally deployed aircraft with three in reserve. This totals to 900 fighter aircraft of which around two squadrons or 40 aircraft may cease to be fully operational every year as they reach the end of their life. But the IAF is unlikely to get the 42 squadrons till 2035.

-----------------------


The PAF currently has 22 fighter aircraft squadrons that translate into about 410 aircraft. These include around 70 JF-17s, 45 F-16s, 69 Mirage IIIs, 90 Mirage Vs and 136 F-7s. The JF-17, a China-designed aircraft, is claimed to be a fourth-generation, multi-role aircraft. It is reported that another 100 are on order.

The PAF plans to acquire 250 aircraft to replace its Mirage IIIs and F-7s. Some of these would be Block 2 version with 4.5 generation features while some more would be Block 3 and are expected to have fifth-generation characteristics. The PAF is also said to have placed an order for 36 Chinese J-10s a 4.5 generation aircraft. The J-10 is expected to be inducted as the FC-20, an advanced PAF-specific variant.

The PAF’s fighter aircraft currently are of four types, which are planned to be reduced to three multi-role types, namely the F-16, JF-17 and FC-20 by 2025. Russia and Pakistan have also been talking about the possible purchase of the Sukhoi-35 air-superiority multi-role fighter. The PAF plans to procure 30-40 Chinese FC-31 stealth fighter aircraft to replace the F-16 fighter jets. The FC-31 is designed to fly close air support, air interdiction and other missions. However, the PAF is more likely to employ conventional tactical aircraft rather than stealth aircraft in actual missions to support Pakistani ground forces.

Seventh largest
The PAF with a smaller fighter aircraft inventory is the seventh largest air force in the world and the largest in the Islamic world. PAF pilots are well-trained, with battle experience and high morale. The PAF is also an inherently air-defence oriented force. As earlier, in an exclusive Indo-Pak war scenario, the PAF will be kept head-down by the IAF and is likely to be defeated. In the shadow of nuclear stand-off, a full-fledged war is less likely.

In a limited war as a follow-up to a trigger incident or a surgical strike, the IAF will be much better placed on account of its larger weapon inventory and superior platforms. There is a considerable scope for conventional offensive action short of the nuclear threshold.

Lately, the induction of Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft into the subcontinent has altered the regional strategic environment. It enables the two sides to keep an eye on each other, and in India’s case, Pakistan’s ally China. These AEW aircraft provide low altitude coverage for both sides, looking into mountain valleys and across the horizon over the sea.

Pakistan’s diverse terrain, which includes sea, desert, glaciers and mountains, means monitoring these areas was ‘patchy’ because ground based air defence radars cannot cover the sea, and not always the land. While the PAF has two AEW aircraft, the IAF has two AWACS and three AEW aircraft, which will make air warfare that much more challenging in the subcontinent.

The writer is a Professor of International Relations and Strategic Studies at Christ Deemed to be University, Bengaluru

Riaz Haq said...

Uncovered: 265 coordinated fake local media outlets serving Indian interests


https://www.disinfo.eu/2019/11/13/uncovered:-265-coordinated-fake-local-media-outlets-serving-indian-interests/


Over 265 fake local news sites in more than 65 countries are managed by an Indian influence network.

How could you know that your local news website, such as newyorkmorningtelegraph.com, thedublingazette.com, or timesofportugal.com serves Indian governmental interests?

Here are some findings from these websites:

Most of them are named after an extinct local newspaper or spoof real media outlets;
They republish content from several news agencies (KCNA, Voice of America, Interfax);
Coverage of the same Indian-related demonstrations and events;
Republications of anti-Pakistan content from the described Indian network (including EP Today, 4NewsAgency, Times Of Geneva, New Delhi Times);
Most websites have a Twitter account as well.
One may wonder: why have they created these fake media outlets? From analysing the content and how it is shared, we found several arguments to do so:

Influence international institutions and elected representatives with coverage of specific events and demonstrations;
Provide NGOs with useful press material to reinforce their credibility and thus be impactful;
Add several layers of media outlets that quote and republish one another, making it harder for the reader to trace the manipulation, and in turn (sometimes) offer a “mirage” of international support;