There has been a stark contrast in the nature and frequency of media addresses on both sides of the border after the strike by Indian Air Force on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot on 26 February.
On Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale along with the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs of India (MEA) Raveesh Kumar held a press conference. In the press meet held after the Balakot strike, Gokhale read out a pre-prepared statement confirming that the Indian forces had carried out an air strike on terror camps inside Pakistan and called it a “pre-emptive non-military action” taken to safeguard India’s security in wake of the Pulwama terror attack and the imminent danger of more suicide attacks by JeM.
At a public rally in Rajasthan’s Churu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also talked about the IAF’s operation and said that he was solemn in his pledge to not let the nation bow down as he assured the nation that the country was in “safe hands“.
Later in the evening, there was a media address from the spokesperson of the Pakistan Army, Major General Asif Ghafoor, refuting Indian claim of mass casualties in the attack.
Whereas on Wednesday, after both India and Pakistan engaged in air strikes early in the morning and two planes — a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet and an Indian MiG-21 aircraft — were shot down across the Line of Control (LoC). Pakistan claimed that it had captured the plane’s pilot and released a video where he is seen identifying himself.
Immediately, after tweeting about shooting down Indian planes (Pakistan had earlier claimed of gunning down two planes and having two pilots in their territory) in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), Ghafoor held another press conference to tell his country about the developments and hail the PAF’s efforts to thwart India’s “attempt to breach its air space”.
Thereafter, at 3 pm, the MEA spokesperson, accompanied by IAF’s Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor, addressed a press conference to confirm that India had lost one MiG-21 in the air strikes on Wednesday morning and that its pilot was “missing in action”. He said that India was ascertaining Pakistan’s claim of having held the pilot captive. However, following a similar pattern as on Tuesday, Kumar stated at the start of the briefing that the officials won’t answer any media queries after the statement is read out.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan also released a video address in which he talked about the ongoing tension between India and Pakistan and once again reiterated that he wants peace and talks and that Pakistan does not wish to escalate and take the situation to a war. However, from the Indian side, neither the prime minister nor the defence or home minister addressed the media on Wednesday.
Union minister Arun Jaitley did speak at an event earlier in the day and said that India had the capability to do a mission like how the United States carried out an operation involving Navy Seals as they eliminated Al Qaeda chief Osama-bin-Laden. But no official word came from any minister in the Modi cabinet as the nation awaited a response to re-assure it in such trying times.
Modi was in Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan to launch the Khelo India App when he had to leave his address in between and rush for a meeting amid the reports of rising tension on the border. However, apart from the MEA press conference and a statement regarding summoning of the Pakistani envoy, issued thereafter, there was no media engagement by the Indian side. Whereas, Pakistan’s army officials, its foreign minister and other top leaders tweeted and addressed their people in various capacities as the events unfolded.
Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.
Published Date: Feb 28, 2019 10:51 AM
| Updated Date: Feb 28, 2019 11:57 AM
Updated Date: Feb 28, 2019 11:57:26 IST