Alpesh Patel’s Political Sketchbook: What Really Just Happened in Kashmir: Factcheck:

Shallow news headlines and simple journalism may mean you missed the nuance of what just happened. And it’s not what you think. And yes, it was more serious than you may have realised.

A Senior Fellow of the UK Think Tank, The International Institute of Strategic Studies, disclosed 24 Pakistani jets including F16 aircraft were heading to India this past week (why these aircraft are important I will explain in a moment) and India scrambled 8 interceptor MiGs (interceptors are fast, but not good for dog-fighting – and outnumbered 3-1, still only one plane was lost).

Indeed the Indian interceptors key role was to keep Pakistani planes out of Indian air space because of the payload they could be carrying; which the Indian Air Force did – at the expense of being shot (basically taking a bullet for their country).

Now, pause, while I explain why when Indian radar shows F16s signatures this is important.

First F16 can carry a nuclear payload. This is why Pakistan sending such a large number at speed towards India was a serious aggression. They well knew India would only target terror camps, as it did over the Uri attack.

Second, F16’s are not permitted by the American Government to be used against India (an American ally). So imagine you’re manning an Indian radar and thinking to yourself, why would Pakistan send warplanes towards India, so many, and those which can carry a nuclear payload, and which would be a single use, since the Americans would discover it. And your calculation may well be they are planning a surprise nuclear assault, that’s why.

This is the cryptic ‘miscalculation’ PM Khan spoke of when he must have known these military plans.

By doing so, Pakistan has shot itself however, as the US Congress will now be the battleground for halting military aid and supplies to Pakistan. Something I was involved in when working in US Congress and so familiar with the battleground.

Finally, remember what else happened – India was at the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation as key guest of honour. Pakistan was not. It was one of those OIC states that acting for India told the Pakistani PM to release the Indian pilot.

Pakistan have lost their F16s, and been indeed isolated at the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation no less. India promised isolation of Pakistan. And they have delivered.

India does not parade these strategies in the press and social media in a crass show. It never has. I’ve worked with Indian diplomats long enough to know, they are strategic, patient, calm, and never rash.

But, what else happened is Saudi Arabia just made Pakistan its lapdog. India is more important to Saudi Arabia than Pakistan and Pakistan needs the money from Saudi. So a phone call from Saudi and the pilot gets released.

There are a lot of people in Pakistan High Command spitting blood at PM Khan. His days are numbered. And India knew what buttons to push to get him to do it – money promised by Saudi last week.

Political realities are not meant for naive observers who think Pakistan is doing it as a “peace gesture”. Pakistan was made Saudi Arabia’s “bitch” to the use the language of India’s biggest supporter in the US Congress – Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard.

Just as North Korea doesn’t get to keep nukes and benefit from economic partnership, so too the Americans and Indians have told Pakistan, you don’t get to keep your terrorists and benefit from the peace dividend and partnerships with India. The world doesn’t work like that.

Alpesh Patel

Columnist Asian Voice Newspaper

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