In a significant revelation, former Indian high commissioner to Pakistan, Ajay Bisaria, admitted that India lacks concrete proof of the success of the 2019 Balakot strikes. Bisaria, during an interview with The Wire marking the launch of his book “Anger Management: The Troubled Diplomatic Relationship between India and Pakistan,” acknowledged, “You will perhaps never know for sure how successful the strike was.”
This marks the first instance where a senior Indian diplomat, who served as the high commissioner in Islamabad during the Balakot strikes, publicly acknowledged the absence of proof regarding the targets claimed to be struck by the Indian Air Force.
The Balakot airstrike occurred on February 26, 2019, with Pakistan responding with airstrikes in Indian-held territory, leading to a dogfight where the Pakistan Air Force downed two Indian jets and captured Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman.
Bisaria’s interview delved into various aspects, including Pakistan’s response to Balakot, the downing of Abhinandan’s MiG-21, and why Pakistan promptly returned him.
The interview also covered Bisaria’s perspective on what he described as panic on both sides, including a phone call from then-Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj to then-US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, expressing concerns about Pakistan possibly using nuclear weapons.
The interview highlighted the challenges of uncovering the full truth about events such as Pulwama and Balakot, particularly under the current BJP government led by Prime Minister Modi. Bisaria suggested that revealing any incompetence on India’s part or questioning the alleged success of Balakot would not be officially disclosed by the government.