War on the Sub-Continent! The Indian Air Force Has Attacked Across the Line of Control

(Line of Control Separating India and Pakistan)

While this specific response may not have been what was anticipated, those of us who follow security measures on the sub-continent have been expecting India to retaliate for a Jaish e Mohammed attack against Indian police officers earlier this month.

India said a Pakistan based militant group, Jaish-e Mohammed carried out Thursday’s deadly attack on an Indian police convoy in disputed Kashmir, and demanded that its neighbor act against militant groups operating from its soil.

A car laden with explosives slammed into the convoy, killing at least 44 soldiers in the deadliest attack on security forces in decades in the region, raising tensions with Pakistan which claims the territory.

“We demand that Pakistan stop supporting terrorists and terror groups operating from their territory and dismantle the infrastructure operated by terrorist outfits to launch attacks in other countries,” India’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

While The Reuters reporting states the Indian casualties were soldiers, subsequent reporting clarified they were police officers.

As of right now we know that the Indian Air Force (IAF) struck well past the Line of Control. Everyone is now waiting on Islamabad’s response. Apparently, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has their F-16s on combat air patrol (CAP) over Islamabad, which is to be expected.

The spokesman for the Pakistan Armed Forces is making the following statements about the attack, which contradicts some of the reporting above:

And this reporting from NDTV:

As of right now, there is nothing posted by either the Indian Ministry of Defense or the Indian Air Force on social media about the attack. Though both the Congress Party and Rahul Ghandi have responded:

Something that is important to keep in mind, just as in the case in the Levant, because of the geography of the region, where basing is located, and the capabilities of modern fighter jets, time to station for either the IAF or the PAF is well below the ability of the other side to respond to a quick strike. I would expect that right now the Pakistani Prime Minister Imram Khan is being pulled in at least three different directions: one by his civilian advisors, one by he military, and one by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

According to NDTV’s live feed:

Feb 26, 2019
10:04 (IST)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is meeting with top ministers in the cabinet committee on security at his home in Delhi to take stock of the situation.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Minister of Defence Nirmala Sitharaman, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and other top officials of the government are attending the meeting.

Feb 26, 2019
09:55 (IST)
Indian Air Force has put on high alert all air defence systems along the International Border and Line of Control, reports news agency ANI.

Now we have to wait and see what happens. India’s response to the 11 February 2019 attack on its paramilitary police is unprecedented. As Ankit Panda indicates below, no nuclear weapons state has used conventional air power to attack another nuclear weapons state’s territory before.

All we can do now is wait for Pakistan’s response and then India’s response to that if any.

Open thread!

67 replies
  1. 1
    Jerzy Russian says:

    This sounds bad.

  2. 2
    Mary G says:

    Yikes. The thought of Twitler and Swagger Christianist Pompeo dealing with this is terrifying. Hopefully they’ll be too busy sucking up to Kim.

    Hope calmer voices prevail in both India and Pakistan.

  3. 3
    Adam L Silverman says:

    It would be nice if any of the American 24/7 cable news stations would actually do some reporting on this!

  4. 4
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    This is not good.

  5. 5
    Mary G says:

    @Adam L Silverman: The WaPo’s article is fairly sad too, just gives Pakistan’s version in less detail than you did.

  6. 6
    Mary G says:

    I feel a little better knowing the leader of the free world is on it:

    FM @HeikoMaas spoke on the phone with Pakistan’s FM @SMQureshiPTI yesterday with regard to the tensions between India and Pakistan and appealed to both sides to work to de-escalate the situation. Specifically, Pakistan resolutely needs to put a stop to cross-border terrorism.— GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) February 25, 2019

  7. 7
    eemom says:

    yikes. eedad said this was gonna happen. 😢

  8. 8
    Mike in NC says:

    Wife spent about three weeks in India about 7 years ago. She was a guest of the ambassador and was with her cousin, retired State Department poohbah, so they lived like royalty. I was working then but still didn’t have much interest in going, having been to Karachi, Pakistan while on active duty in the Navy in the 1980s.

  9. 9
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: This is Ankit Panda’s take.

  10. 10
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mary G: We are likely to never get a good idea of what actually happened.

  11. 11
    PeakVT says:

    It’s never a good time for thermonuclear war. Given the nature of the target, the chances of escalation seem low. But the strike still seems like a rash response.

    Thank goodness President Clinton will be taking the 2 am…

  12. 12
    Adam L Silverman says:

  13. 13
    Jay says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Pretty much a given. They can’t retaliate for a no damage, no casualties, PAF chased them away, narrative.

  14. 14
    eemom says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    It would be nice if any of the American 24/7 cable news stations would actually do some reporting on this!

    🤣

  15. 15
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jay: Yep.

  16. 16
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @eemom: Glad I could amuse you.

  17. 17
    Betsy says:

    Can a front pager, or anyone, help with this? Adult kitties need rehoming. Comment 120 or so in previous thread. Sorry for my tech illiteracy.

  18. 18
    NotMax says:

    re: use of air power by one nuclear state against another

    IIRC, the USSR employed air power (in addition to missiles and tanks) as retaliatory offense against the Chinese during the very tense days of the Zhenbao Island conflict . And Moscow almost immediately after ramped up preparations for a possible use of air power to take out Chinese nuclear capability, at one point surprising the U.S. by asking point blank what the response to such action would be (both Secretary of State Rogers and CIA head Helms were reported in the American press as confirming this).

  19. 19
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Betsy: Unless the kitties are attacking a nuclear weapon state, you’ll need to get a different front pager…//

  20. 20
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: You take it up with the guy from the Federation of American Scientists.

  21. 21
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    Too preoccuipied with finding and snapping up hotel rooms in Hanoi that have reliable wi-fi service.

    (half snark)

  22. 22
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Betsy: More seriously, is that your Facebook post?

  23. 23

    Shit. This seems like it would be a disaster in the making even if we had a competent, emotionally stable president. I hope he can keep from making this worse.

  24. 24
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    Have a feeling that’s why he included the qualifier about disputed territory.

  25. 25
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax:

  26. 26
    Betsy says:

    @Adam L Silverman: @Adam L Silverman: No, just passing along word.

  27. 27
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Betsy: I sent you an email.

  28. 28
  29. 29
    Aleta says:

    (NYT) Western security officials have raised questions about the existence of a large-scale training camp, saying that Pakistan no longer runs such camps and that militant groups are spread out in small groups around the country.

    In recent days, residents have fled the area as hundreds of Kashmiris have been arrested and Indian troops have moved more troops into the region.

    But analysts have said tensions between the two nuclear-armed rivals are unlikely to erupt into full-scale war.

  30. 30
    Archon says:

    Military game theory of a war between India and Pakistan is fascinating and disturbing. Obviously a convention war between India and Pakistan would involve Pakistan getting their doors blown off but the nuclear card changes all types of calculations.

  31. 31
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    Took a few minutes to find the right .pdf file. From page 38:

    Compared to the battle two weeks before, on 15 March both sides used significantly more forces and firepower. In the course of a nine-hour firefight, Chinese forces numbered more than a regiment (approximately 2,000 men), and the Soviets used at least 50 tanks and APCs, fired approximately 10,000 artillery rounds, and flew 36 aircraft sorties.

  32. 32
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: Feel free to email it to Panda.

  33. 33
    Jay says:

    @Archon:

    When India went nuclear to face off China, they took the ability to win a war with Pakistan off the table.

  34. 34
    Jay says:

    @Aleta:

    The Pakistani IRI and Army tightly control the areas, so what is observed, is what they want to be seen.

    Allegedly, after the 2016 Surgical Strikes, JeM and LeK camps were moved deep into Pakistani Kashmir.

    So, which Balakot was hit?

  35. 35
    Sebastian says:

    Thank you for the excellent post, Doctor.

    Aren’t we glad that our diplomatic corps is fully staffed with seasoned diplomats and we have a steady hand at the helm of our nation?

  36. 36
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Sebastian: Yep, yep, and yep.

  37. 37
    opiejeanne says:

    Steeplejack, if you’re around: yes, this hotel has electricity.

    the thing we realized when we stopped for breakfast is that it wasn’t just Roseburg that had no electricity. We think the entire valley was knocked out by the wet snow. Myrtle Creek seemed to be dark except for a few “safety” lights on some industrial buildings. We saw only one signal that was working; mr opiejeanne explained that signals can be outfitted with a battery so that they continue to operate during a power outage, but a lot of towns are too cheap to spend the extra money.

  38. 38
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I’m racking out.

  39. 39
    NotMax says:

    @opiejeanne

    Take it the place last night was not one of those whose motto is “We’ll keep the light on for you.”

    ;)

  40. 40
    Jay says:

    @opiejeanne:

    Signals can also be digitally controlled off their own data and power networks backed up by emergency generator. In town, it’s all run out of the BCLB, including traffic and security cameras.

  41. 41
    opiejeanne says:

    @NotMax: Ha! The porch lights were on, but not much else. The emergency power did not extend to the elevators so we were thanking our lucky stars that we were only on the 3rd floor as we lugged our stuff down to the car.

    It was a nice place, a Hampton Inn that’s so new the rooms still feel like no one has every slept in them before. I got the impression that Hilton is going to do something for us since there was no breakfast available today.

  42. 42
    opiejeanne says:

    @Jay: Maybe you are unaware, but mr opiejeanne is a retired Civil Engineer. I hear about this stuff all the time. That’s why I mentioned the possible battery.

    You seem to be an expert on a very many things. Thank you for sharing your expertise with us.

    We figure that the town is too cheap to make sure the signals work at major intersections in case of a power outage, and also that it’s probable a large tree took out the power supply for the entire valley. The snow was very heavy and we saw many trees that had come down during the night.

    This is why you might have heard of Roseburg before now: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umpqua_Community_College_shooting

  43. 43
    opiejeanne says:

    @Adam L Silverman: It’s only been 20 years since that last war between Pakistan and India? Seems longer ago, but maybe I’m remembering the one when East and West Pakistan fought to separate themselves, and became Bangladesh and just Pakistan.

  44. 44
    Raven Onthill says:

    The US press monitoring the summit in Hanoi have been forced to move their operation center. I hope they are not attacked.

    https://twitter.com/Acosta/status/1100208719877394432?s=20

  45. 45
    opiejeanne says:

    @Jay: I’m sorry, that was snotty of me. You know a lot, I shouldn’t have snapped at you.

  46. 46
    Sebastian says:

    @Raven Onthill:

    Lavrov is in Hanoi. They’ll keep the press busy with changing hotels while Trump and Lavrov meet.

  47. 47
    sukabi says:

    @opiejeanne: probably seems longer because of the shitty timeline we’re stuck in now. Every day takes a week off your life.

  48. 48
    opiejeanne says:

    @Raven Onthill: Such a red flag.

  49. 49
    Jay says:

    @opiejeanne:

    I was just surprised quite a few years ago, that while power was out in town, the signal lights were working with the sensors, and the lights were adapting to traffic levels.

    Then Martin said he had been “braced” by his GF’s Dad for making out in Riverside Park. The Dad’s head of Security for the BCLC, what are they doing tapped into security cameras in Riverside Park?

    So I got curious and broke out the Google fu?

    So it turned out that when they moved the Lottery Corporation here, they needed security cameras, so bit by bit, as the City networked cameras and traffic lights, the network was built on the BCLC networks and assets, and is run out of the BCLC building with “networked” staff. And of course, Lotto Max and the 6/49 have to be protected from power outages, they have a massive array of backup generators that now run the whole system from Dallas to Cherry Creek, east to west, and from Sahali to Westside north to south.

    This was confirmed at a Thanksgiving dinner at Davids house.

    I’m only an “expert” on a couple things, but I read massively, google incessantly and have one of those “weird” brains that remembers “stuff”. Last time I was in the Chehalis canyons, 2 years ago, I remembered exactly where a trail was that I hadn’t walked in 20 years. A couple of days ago, I vaguely remembered a paper I had read over a decade ago and when I google searched for it, I had remembered enough key points that it was the #3 google result.

    I’m just weird that way.

  50. 50
    opiejeanne says:

    @sukabi: This is possibly true. I know that the past two years feel like ten or more.

  51. 51
    smike says:

    @opiejeanne:
    Well done with that, opiejeanne.

  52. 52
    Jay says:

    @opiejeanne:

    No biggie. Sometimes when I comment, I expand it for others rather than just a response.

    And yes, I remember the nice things you have said about Mr. Opiejeanne.

  53. 53
    opiejeanne says:

    @Jay: I do the same, reading everything and falling down rabbit holes while looking up something related. I don’t retain things the way I used to, though. I have a degree in music and can’t remember most of the theory, nor the name of the guy who wrote the “Bible” on counterpoint. Oh. Walter Piston. Tried to think of that name yesterday and drew a huge blank.

    I blame the drugs.

  54. 54
    Jay says:

    @opiejeanne:

    When I can’t remember stuff I blame my Wife, or one of the cats.//

  55. 55
    Raven Onthill says:

    @Sebastian: could we just impeach the bastard for treason, already? I’m ready to sign off for the night, and I hope we wake up to a world worth living in.

  56. 56
    Jay says:

    @Raven Onthill:

    Unfortunately, no, you can’t.

    It would be nice though.

  57. 57
    Jay says:

    @opiejeanne:

    The last “war” was the Kargil War. 1999.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kargil_War

  58. 58
    Jay says:

    So, may have been an airstrike against at this time of year, empty “launch pads” just across the LOC,

    Or a deep strike into Pakistan,

    “Main article: 2019 Indian Line of Control strike
    The region is notorious for having several terror training camps.[13][14] Jaish-e-Mohammed terror outfit used to operate from the region.[15] According to a report published by Asian News International (ANI), the Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted a strike on terror camps allegedly located in Balakot on the early morning hours of February 26, 2019. Twelve Mirage 2000 jets carrying over 1000 kilograms of bombs were reportedly used for the attack.[16] This was apparently done in response to the attack on CRPF (Indian Reserved Forces) in Pulwama, India on 14th February 2019 in which over 44 CRPF personnel were killed.[17]

    The report of this attack has however been contested by Pakistan. According to official sources, the Pakistani Air Force retaliated the Indian jets soon after their entry across the Line of Control.[18] However, a deleted tweet from the Pakistani source appears to have confirmed the location of the strikes as Balakot.[19]”

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balakot

  59. 59
    oatler. says:

    Chuck Todd will jump on this story as soon as he can find a republican to interview.

  60. 60
    Jay says:

    @oatler.:

    Chuck Todd will jump on this story as soon a he can find a Republican to jump on,…….

  61. 61
    Cermet says:

    Pakistan has neither the air force nor real nukes to seriously challenge Indian military might. As such, their response will be more restrain then most would suspect. That all said, this is more than likely the beginning of a trend between the two countries that will slowly worsen; after a few more years this will lead to more serious escalation of both covert and then overt military strikes and counter strikes. Finally, war in the next fifteen to twenty years as AGW continues to create drought, heat waves, and famine in those areas making people there more and more hostile. Hope it does not come to nuclear war but as those two countries fall apart due to massive heat waves starting in thirty years, then all bets are off.

  62. 62
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Okay, Dr. Silverman, for us more Neandrathal-level, thought process jackals… what’s the pucker factor here?

  63. 63
    Librarian says:

    @opiejeanne: that war was in 1971.

  64. 64
    VOR says:

    I was curious about US State Department staffing for this region. We do have an Ambassador in India. But Pakistan does not have an Ambassador and appears to be run by a Charge d’Affaires. I see a whole lot of “Acting” names in the list of senior staff. That’s probably a good thing in the Trump mal-administration as it means they are career State rather than Trump loyalists.

  65. 65

    1. Its Rahul Gandhi not Ghandi.
    2. CRPF is a paramilitary force, closer to the army than police, they are sent to pacify “troubled regions” by the central (federal) government in Delhi. The local populace usually views them with suspicion for good reason. They are an institution from the Raj days. They were called the Crown Reserve Police Force now they are the Central Reserve Police Force. They are usually not as well equipped as the armed forces and are overworked.
    The regular police are locals, controlled by the state government. CRPF personnel are referred to as jawans, which is usually used for army cadets.

  66. 66
    Dan says:

    ‘Jawan’ means an enlisted soldier, I.e., not an officer. I think it’d be fairly translated as a term we use like GI or grunt.

  67. 67

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