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Hit hard at Pak terror, but keep hype in check

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The Indian Air Force strike on Balakot has not turned out to be as complete a success as one would have hoped. This is largely because of two factors -- the ineptness of India's political leadership and Pakistani propaganda.

The Pakistan government has successfully muddied facts surrounding the two issues related to the Balakot airstrike -- first, whether the intended target at Balakot was hit at all, and second, whether India lost the dogfight over Akhnoor.
The Pakistani media fed by its military establishment reported that no terrorist infrastructure or camp at Balakot was hit by IAF Mirages that intruded deep into Pakistani territory. Going by the Pakistani account, only a few trees were hit.
This narrative was picked up by the international media and some American commentators chipped in by claiming that satellite imagery did not show any significant damage in the area.

The international media also lapped up the Pakistani claim that its air force had shot down two Indian fighters, one of which fell in its territory and the other in India. In truth, India lost only one fighter, a MiG-21. A few days later, the New York Times ran a story headlined: "After India Loses Dogfight to Pakistan, Questions Arise About Its 'Vintage' Military".

Few reports were flattering of the IAF's remarkable achievements and there were few clarifications offered in the international media, while the domestic media followed a hyper nationalistic line, claiming the return of downed MiG-21 pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman a huge success. The........

© Deccan Chronicle