India Just Had At Least One Of Their Jets Shot Down By Pakistan; Will They Walk Away From War?

Screengrab from https://twitter.com/AbdNav2K1/status/1100731153726738432

Often very bad things begin as a series of miscalculations.

On February 14, a bus carrying a load of Indian paramilitary troops in Kashmir was hit by a VBIED and some 40 of the men were killed. Bloodshed in Kashmir is not necessarily noteworthy or newsworthy but this was a significant attack and and it could be linked directly to Pakistani supported terrorists (funny now smoothly that phrase rolls off the tongue after using it for so many years).

In retaliation, the Indian Air Force carried out a symbolic airstrike inside of Pakistan.

Indian warplanes conducted airstrikes in Pakistan on Tuesday, Pakistani officials said, in an escalation of tensions between the nuclear-armed nations after a suicide bombing against Indian troops in the disputed Kashmir region this month.

It was the first time that Indian aircraft had crossed the Kashmir Line of Control to strike in decades. But it was unclear what, if anything, the attack jets hit on the Pakistani side, raising the possibility that India was making a calculated bet to assuage public anger but minimize the risk of a major Pakistani military response.

A spokesman for Pakistan’s armed forces, Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, on Tuesday posted on Twitter four images of a forested area pockmarked with small craters and debris, which he said was the site of Indian airstrikes.

Today the stress level went up exponentially as the Indian and Pakistani air forces clashed for, as far as I can tell, the first time since 1971.

The Pakistani’s are claiming that their F-16s intercepted two Indian military aircraft after they crossed the border and shot them down. Photographic evidence seems to confirm that an Indian Air Force rust bucket MiG-21 and possibly BAE Systems Hawk 132 light attack/trainer were shot down.

The loss of the the second aircraft may or may not be a fog of war thing.

And Pakistan is now exhibiting the captured Indian pilot (for anyone who cares, this is a violation of the Geneva Conventions, but as it doesn’t involve trying to try Americans for war crimes isn’t any big deal).

What makes this so interesting is that India is in the middle of an election season and politicians of all parties will be under pressure to look tough and decisive, losing an aircraft after the VBIED losses a couple of weeks ago will be hard to ignore, Pakistan is unstable in the best of times and its leadership will have difficulty backing down, Kashmiri terrorists will be emboldened, and both nations have nukes. Quite a few nukes.

The real test will be over the next few days. If India pulls back, and no one in Kashmir goes batsh** crazy, then this may pass and become just another grievance to feed and care for. We need to hope that is what happens because if India is serious, Pakistan will have to face the choice of going nuclear or capitulation in a very short period of time.

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