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Featured Contextualizing Swift Retort: Surprise within, shock without

Discussion in 'Pakistan Defence Magazine' started by CriticalThought, Feb 27, 2020.

  1. CriticalThought

    CriticalThought SENIOR MEMBER

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    Much ink has been split to retrace the events leading up to and following Swift Retort (SR). So far, all such efforts portray SR as a knee jerk response to Indian aggression following the Pulwama attack. In this article, I would like to contextualize SR in the larger sequence of events. This will enable us to derive the full significance of PAF's swift retort to both the Indian barb and Pakistani lethargy.
    paf-prepared-to-counter-all-threats-vows-air-chief-1582807403-2193.jpg
    The months, and not just days, leading up to SR saw an increasingly belligerent Indian military and air force. The bowing out of COAS General Raheel Sharif and ACM Sohail Aman brought a season change to Pakistan's outward projection of military might. The last test of any new Pakistani missile with strategic significance was of Ababeel in January 2017, shortly after Bajwa came into office. Indeed, the few months that elapsed between Bajwa's appointment and the Ababeel test do not provide any grounds for crediting Bajwa with a strategic vision. The entirety of Bajwa's legacy is filled with tests of naval cruise and surface to surface missiles of assorted types, along with tactical ballistic missile tests/exercises carried out by the Pakistan army. By mid 2018, the lack of any grandiose strategic posturing was accompanied by an almost pin drop silence from the office of the newly appointed Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan - a gentleman and professional of the highest caliber, who believes in action on the battlefield and gelid reserve during peace.

    In this backdrop, India continued an astounding accretion of strategic weapons such as nuclear submarines and strategic missiles with 5000+ km range. This was expected and in line with Indian hegemonic designs which it has openly expressed for a long time. But a surprising development was the sudden, and rather churlish, assertiveness of the loud mouthed Indian Air Force Chief B. S. Dhanoa. In presentations and statements, the Indian chief expressed readiness of his air force to fight the combined aerial might of both China and Pakistan. As we shall see, this would later provide comic relief to the rugged heights of Swift Retort.

    For purposes of contextualization, we choose three significant events involving the Indian air force. The first is Exercise Gagan Shakti, in which IAF exercised its entire machinery, from logistics to fighter jets. The culmination of Gagan Shakti saw a heightened confidence in the Indian air force, with claims of 11000 sorties involving the full gamut of aircrafts at its disposal, and validation of plans to fight a two front war with both China and Pakistan. Indian journalists and political leaders were treated to low grade military pornography in the form of marquee Indian fighters dropping air to ground loads under quite unremarkable conditions.

    The second event is participation of Indian air force in Exercise Pitch Black held in Australia. This was the first time IAF was participating in this particular exercise. As such, it was a chance for the newly ascendant IAF to express its relevance in international geo-politics, and send a strong signal in the rising tensions around the South China Sea. It projected India's image as a coalition partner, and reinforced the capability of India's Russian aircraft to inter-operate with Western equipment.

    The third and final event of significance is COPE India 2018 held in Dec, just two months from Swift Retort. The exercise is best summarized in the words of U.S. Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., PACAF commander

    “These exercise scenarios challenged us to be agile in execution, innovative in our approach and integrated in our command and control…enhancing the readiness and lethality of our Airmen and our allies and partners.”
    https://www.pacaf.af.mil/News/Artic...ust-cooperation-between-us-indian-air-forces/

    At this point, I invite the reader to pay special attention to COPE India 2018 held in Dec 2018, and Falcon Talon III, a joint exercise between USAF and Pakistan Air Force held in Jan 2019, a month before the events of Swift Retort. Both exercises involved large number of aircrafts from the host countries. Both exercises provided ultimate opportunity to American analysts to gauge the level of preparation of IAF and PAF. And yet, by Feb 2019, we see no change in IAF's bellicose posture. Did the Americans not share PAF capabilities with their IAF friends? Did they knowingly downplayed Pakistani capabilities? Or did IAF simply failed to on-board the information provided by the Americans? These are questions whose answers we may never know.

    What we do know, is that as the early hours of Feb 26 2019 approached, the Indian media machinery was in full swing ratcheting up war hysteria in the Indian population. Television anchors were sharing military plans that seemed to have been provided to them by professional analysts. Politicians were baying for blood. And the hypocrite Modi was absorbed in nurturing his image as servant of the people, washing feet of sanitary workers. This outward display of nonchalance and unfazed composure accompanied an inner turmoil arising from pontificating upon the impact of clouds on Pakistani radars. Alas, for Modi, neither humility nor bravado would be the saving grace.

    But let us look at the perceptions of PAF prior to Operation Swift Retort. The complete lack of any strategic posture by the military, the placating, soothing appeasement by the government, and an open admittance of economic disaster, combined to project a very bleak picture of the PAF. Much of the world considered PAF to be outdated and outnumbered by the IAF. The Indian propaganda machine had been successful in solidifying the image of Su-30 in the minds of everyday Pakistanis as a potent force that could rule the skies of South Asia without challenge. The PAF's absence from the Kargil conflict, and India's bold and confrontational act of shooting down an unarmed naval plane within Pakistani borders had shaped up Pakistani psyche. The American raid on Abbottabad had been the final nail in the coffin that had sealed PAF's image as being unable to protect the country's borders. The Prime Minister Imran Khan, well known for his subservience to foreign interests, and his complete illiteracy at all matters pertaining to armed conflict, would parrot whatever phrases were given to him. And much of the Pakistani military establishment viewed PAF with doubt due to the aforementioned events.

    As the morning of Feb 26 approached, there were possibly only three entities in the world that had a full understanding of PAF's true capabilities. The PAF itself, the PLAAF with which PAF has conducted wide ranging exercises and which has supplied PAF with a large portion of its inventory through purchases and join ventures, and finally, the USAF which has trained PAF and given it the sharp edge of the fabled Katana. It should be noted that the case of USAF is ambiguous because PAF has (at least officially) kept its Chinese and Western capabilities compartmentalized during international exercises.

    Thus, once the failed Indian airstrike had taken place, Imran Khan had absolutely no clue what he was about to unleash as he approved the proportional response by targeting but not destroying Indian targets. And Bajwa would be forced to shows his true leanings by restricting PAF Shaheens from turning the skies of Kashmir into a slaughterhouse. Indian air force was caught pants down and exposed to the world.

    However the clear aerial victory was not capitalized upon. Pakistani leaders fanned Indian belligerence through appeasement and a quick and meek release of the captured Indian pilot Abhinandan. Thus, what should have been a decisive victory in the skies of Kashmir, expanded into naval staring match in which India blinked, and reports of military conflict along the Sialkot border that was blacked out from media reporting.

    The aftermath of Swift Retort saw India chastised yet belligerent, and the Pakistani nation oblivious to the meek capitulation by its leaders. The uneducated nation was easily led by mere words and promises of Pakistan's 'moral supremacy'. All the while, Pakistan's vested interests were sabotaged through a comedy in the United Nations where superfluous claims of ecological terrorism were launched despite Pakistan's right to invoke the Security Council to protest the violation of its territorial sovereignty. Otherwise educated Pakistanis acted as the guardians and emissaries of the deceitful Khan, explaining away all actions as Khan's supreme leadership and magnanimous personality. The net outcome being India's abrogation of Article 370, and France, Britain, and America combining to pressurize Pakistan through FATF.

    Finally, one interesting event post Swift Retort was the participation of JF-17 in the Turkish Anatolian Eagle exercise along with F-15s of the American air force. Once the Thunder had delivered the shock during Swift Retort, PAF allowed the Americans to get a first hand interaction. And for the Americans to send their air superiority fighter, with a track record of 104 to nil, is quite flattering for the Thunder.

    Now that the enemy has been shocked, and traitors within Pakistan have been surprised, PAF has been given the glorious and monumental task of ensuring Pakistan's independence from foreign vendors and increasing self-reliance through innovative research. The ACM Mujahid Anwar Khan has expressed the resolve to acquire whatever technologies are needed to match India's procurements. Pakistani and Chinese air forces conducted Shaheen-VIII to on-board the lessons learnt from Swift Retort. The Chinese J-10 fighters have provided with a realistic simulation of the Rafale threat. The Rafale manufacturing factory in France has come under an espionage attack. And Pakistan's growing closeness to Qatar has opened another avenue for Pakistan to learn more about this upcoming threat.

    Meanwhile, the enemy has also been active. Indian air force chief has visited Sweden, the country of origin of Pakistan's large fleet of Erieye AEWACS systems. He has also paid a visit to Egypt, another Muslim country that fields Rafales. Defence cooperation is increasing between America and India, especially in the aerospace sector. India is set to acquire American UCAVs, attack helis, and SAM system using AMRAAM missiles. India is doing everything possible to counter PAF's technical edge.

    The future looks good for aerial warfare in South Asia. The purveyors of 'finest military aircraft technology' must indeed be rejoicing, even as billions of people are pushed further into poverty, and Muslims are oppressed and marginalized throughout the world.

    This piece represents the personal views of the author and do not necessarily reflect those held by the PDF management.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2020
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  2. R Wing

    R Wing FULL MEMBER

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    A pleasure to read.

    Couldn't agree more with how you described the increasingly placating actions by the Docile Duo (only made worse by the way they were presented and defended vigorously by fanboys claiming it was "maturity" and not cowardice and that "economic compulsions" meant we had no other choice ---- yeah, I would have loved to see us becoming a nuclear power under these geniuses at the helm.)
     
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  3. Haris Ali2140

    Haris Ali2140 SENIOR MEMBER

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    Wonderful article.

    I am a victim of that. Before Feb. 27th I thought there would be no retaliation.
     
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  4. T|/|T

    T|/|T SENIOR MEMBER

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    Too much speculations and dramatization.
     
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  5. Waqas

    Waqas FULL MEMBER

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    We should have gone all in and knocked out every Indian jet in the Kashmir sector.
     
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  6. Areesh

    Areesh ELITE MEMBER

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    What do you mean by that?
     
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  7. Baz

    Baz FULL MEMBER

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    bus kar do yaar
     
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  8. Mentee

    Mentee ELITE MEMBER

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    Imf deals, letting the God fathers exit the country, being a pacifist retard, running his jaw needlessly on foreign visits are some of his achievements
     
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  9. diligence

    diligence FULL MEMBER

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    "... But with traitors at the helm of Pakistani affairs, the clear aerial victory was not capitalized upon. Pakistani leaders fanned Indian belligerence through appeasement and a quick and meek release of the captured Indian pilot Abhinandan..." Like many others, I too feel that GoP didn't utilize the golden opportunity of giving a devastating blow to IAF (and thus Hindu terrorist Modi & gang) presented to us on 27 Feb 2019. But labeling the GoP and Pak military officials as traitors is really disgusting to say the least. We obviously have no access to full picture of events and the background (enemy and our plans, our and enemy resources, chances of better opportunities,etc.) and thus we feel GoP action on 27th as just wanting. I am sure the state of Pakistan knows real well when and where to hit the enemy to its max effect.
     
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  10. Mingburnu

    Mingburnu FULL MEMBER

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    Very strong wording for own leadership. Otherwise good read.
     
  11. Enigma SIG

    Enigma SIG SENIOR MEMBER

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    I'm tired of why didn't army do this army didn't do that while comfortably sitting in the US/Canada or whatever fine place you've immigrated to while the people of this region would've dealt with death and destruction.

    Had Pakistan escalated it would've been a shooting war; not so pretty while you're right in the middle of it. Ya'll would've gone back to drinking the capitalist cool-aid after millions dead and said damn the army miscalculated.

    Lets keep the arm-chair drivel out of the forum please.
     
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  12. F86 Saber

    F86 Saber FULL MEMBER

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    To be honest i did not know it was OP's own material and was expecting a link to an article published in DAWN News at the end, enough said.
     
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  13. CriticalThought

    CriticalThought SENIOR MEMBER

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    Somethings needed to be said, and I have said them. Let this thread disappear into history, not to be seen, and never to be forgotten.

    I have previously written on Imran Khan's leanings:

    https://defence.pk/pdf/threads/khan-decoded-from-a-chinese-perspective.585609/

    When I wrote that article, I discovered the similarity between his views and Bill Gates' views by pure chance. Since then, he has come out in the open by backing Bill Gates' domestic chicken farming initiative. If you listen to Dr. Shahid Masood, he has multiple times called out Zulfi Bukhari's links with Jared Krishner. Finally, we have it straight from the horse's mouth, with Trump calling Imran Khan a good friend. Any friend of Trump cannot be a friend of Pakistan. And behind Khan, lies the extended power of Bajwa.
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2020
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  14. diligence

    diligence FULL MEMBER

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    You might have a point but mind you that a national policy (especially its aspects related to security and sovereignty) is not formulated just by the PM house. All vital entities have their input into it. Even if (for the sake of argument) whatever you are saying about IK is correct, he couldn't have taken these decisions of his own. Finally individuals as well as nations can make wrong decisions. But calling them traitors is not the way to go. Please have a trust in the state of Pakistan.
     
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  15. CriticalThought

    CriticalThought SENIOR MEMBER

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