Politics

Satellite Images Prove Balakot Madrasa Wasn’t Hit By Indian Strike

Balakot Madrasa India Navy Pakistan Navy Satellite Planet Labs Submarine
Image source: YouTube Video Screenshot

According to Indian government officials speaking to CNN on background, Pakistan did not come in contact with a submarine from India’s Navy on Monday night. From the report, “Indian government sources disputed the video’s authenticity, telling CNN that their submarine would not have surfaced if it had been trying to enter Pakistani waters. The sources said it was part of a wider propaganda campaign by Pakistan to create hysteria.”

According to India Today which maintains a ‘least biased’ rating from , the specific video circulated by the government of Pakistan and the Pakistani media, which was said to be captured this week is a piece of propaganda:

Many Indian social media users pointed out that this particular video is of 2016, when Pakistan made a similar claim that Indian submarine had tried to enter Pakistan waters, which India later denied. This was covered widely by the International media during that time. Along with other media Pakistan Dawn news also ran a video on November 18, 2016 reportedly provided by the Pakistan government. In this 43-second video we see the same kind of grainy visuals of a submarine mast in the sea. But the 2016 video had no flight data stamped over the footage. The entire footage had the same black band running over it saying “Actual footage of detected Indian Submarine.”

Inside India’s Claim

“In 2016 and in 2019, both the time [sic] Pakistan ran a small video clips of 43 seconds with grainy footage calling it “Actual footage of detected Indian Submarine,” India Today continued. Their analysis is the two separate videos originate from the same source. ” The Government of India Press Information Bureau indirectly addressed the claims from the Pakistan Navy with an official statement on Tuesday. “As was stated during the Joint Press Conference on 28 Feb 19, the Indian Navy remains deployed as necessary to protect National Maritime Interests. Over the past several days, we have witnessed Pakistan indulging in false propaganda and spread of misinformation. The Indian Navy does not take cognizance of such propaganda. Our deployments remain undeterred.”

While India Today claims the video is worthy of ‘2 Crows’ or is comprised of ‘mostly lies’ ValueWalk cannot independently confirm the origin of the video in question or if the government of Pakistan doctored it.

Later in the day the bureau released a statement concerning recent claims from the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) concerning the shooting down of an Indian Air Force (IAF) jet. The timing of the release comes after Pakistan returned a IAF pilot to India, calling into question the credibility of the memo.

In the morning of 27 Feb 19, our Air Defence system was on full alert. Build up of PAF aircraft on their side of LoC [Line of Control] was noticed in time and additional aircraft were scrambled to tackle the adversary. In their attempt to attack our ground targets, PAF aircraft were engaged effectively. From IAF side, Mirage-2000, Su-30 and MiG-21 Bison aircraft were involved in the engagement. PAF aircraft were forced to withdraw in a hurry, which is also evident from large missed distances of the weapons dropped by them. During combat, use of F-16 by PAF and multiple launches of AMRAAM were conclusively observed. Prompt and correct tactical action by Su-30 aircraft, in response to AMRAAM launch, defeated the missile. Parts of the missile fell in area East of Rajouri in J&K, injuring a civilian on ground. Detailed report in this regard has already been released by IAF. All the Su-30 aircraft engaged in combat landed back safely. False claim by Pakistan of shooting down a Su-30, appears to be a cover up for loss of its own aircraft.

A Caveat

“India is set to sign a $3-billion deal with Russia this week to lease another nuclear attack submarine that will be customised and fitted with indigenous communications systems and sensors,” Economic Times reported on Monday. The outlet reported the sub designated Chakra III supposedly the ‘Russian Navy’s K-322 Kashalot (Akula II-class) SSN’ isn’t supposed to be ready for active use until 2025, however, such a deal could further raise hostilities between India and Pakistan — especially after the back and forth over the alleged jet and submarine incidents.

It’s likely the Indian government will begin to address Pakistan and the events since the February 14th Pulwama terrorist attack more directly in the upcoming days. The tone set by those comments could dictate where the tense situation between the nuclear powers is likely to go.

Breaking New Developments

“High-resolution satellite images reviewed by Reuters show that a religious school run by Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in northeastern Pakistan appears to be still standing days after India claimed its warplanes had hit the Islamist group’s training camp on the site and killed a large number of militants,” Reuters reported early Wednesday morning in the United States, seemingly proving Pakistani claims that the recent bombing by the IAF didn’t result in any significant damage.

The San Francisco based Planet Labs Inc provided the satellite footage. Reuters details their findings and the meaning of the images.

The image is virtually unchanged from an April 2018 satellite photo of the facility. There are no discernible holes in the roofs of buildings, no signs of scorching, blown-out walls, displaced trees around the madrasa or other signs of an aerial attack. The images cast further doubt on statements made over the last eight days by the Indian government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the raids, early on Feb. 26, had hit all the intended targets at the madrasa site near Jaba village and the town of Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

India’s defense and foreign ministries did not respond to Reuters request for comment on the satellite footage provided by Planet Labs, further raising questions over how credible the India government is regarding the current Indo-Pakistan conflict.