Politics

Cloud Cover: “Pakistani Radar” Gaffe Earns Modi Criticism

Narendra Modi Pakistani radar
Kremlin.ru [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The Indian elections have been a very hot topic of late. Because it is the largest nation in the world to exercise a democratic election, it is being heavily scrutinized. Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently made a statement on public television concerning Pakistani radar that has earned him some well deserved criticism.

Pakistani Radar Doesn’t Penetrate Clouds – Modi

In February the Indian Air Force carried out an airstrike on the Balakot region of Pakistan. The raid was reportedly aimed at terrorist training camps that Modi and the government believed were based there. It was necessary for the pilots to attempt to avoid detection by Pakistani radar in order for the raid to be successful. Thanks to RT, we learned of an interview the PM carried out on Saturday where he mentioned that he pushed the pilots to fly in bad weather by claiming “we can escape the radar. Everyone was confused. Ultimately I said there are clouds… let’s proceed.”

Ultimately the air strike was a failure for the IAF, as one of their planes was shot down and the pilot captured in Pakistan. While Modi claimed the IAF had also managed to shoot down a Pakistani F-16, a later count by US personnel proved that claim to be untrue. Pakistani radar did pick up the Indian jets and the Air Force quickly scrambled fighters of their own. According to Pakistan, the only damage done by the Indian pilots was to a rural forest area, which resulted in the death of an old man.

Twitter Clouds Up And Rains On PM

When Modi made the comment on public TV his party, the BJP, initially put a tweet up with the quote in it. However, when they realized how foolish the remark sounded, they pulled the tweet in an attempt to salvage the situation. It was too late though, as many people had already taken screenshots of the tweet and posted it on their own feeds, mocking the PM for his foolish claims. Twitter’s radar is even more sensitive than Pakistani radar, and the social media platform quickly turned into a whipping post for Modi.

Former MP and chief minister for Jammu & Kashmir, Omar Abdullah tweeted “Looks like the tweet got lost in the clouds. Luckily there are screenshots floating around to help.” This came after the original tweet by the BJP was deleted.

While many of the comments were politically motivated, others brought legitimate concerns to the table. According to Sitaram Yechury, who heads up India’s Communist Party, Modi shouldn’t be talking about private military meetings at all. He claimed that the comments were “highly damaging” to national security. Tactics for avoiding Pakistani radar should never have been discussed in a public forum, no matter how foolish those tactics might be.

The airstrike failure, foolish comments regarding Pakistani radar, and a host of other factors have caused Twitter users around the world to turn on Modi. One user summed up the whole situation with a quote by Mark Twain: “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt.”