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Surgical strikes against Pakistani terrorists have been happening for a long time by India. What used to be clandestine operations are now publicised by the present government. What brought about this change?

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Surgical strikes against Pakistani terrorists have been happening for a long time by India.

There is no tangible evidence (other than some movie clips released by Indian government whose authenticity could not be verified independently) that India conducted any surgical strike in Pakistani soil in 2016. That was a domestic propaganda made by BJP government for domestic consumption to quench the thirst of jingoist supporters and "Hindutva" activists aka "Bhakts" of BJP. To support my argument, if there were any, Pakistan would have shot down Indian rotary aircraft (shown in the fake video) by then like what they did in 27th February 2019.

On 29 September 2016 Indian government claimed that they conducted a 'Surgical Strike' (military operation) across the Western border with Pakistan.

Now, come to the incident of 2019.

First, take a look at this press briefing on 26th February 2019. The spokesperson reads out a pre-written statement and hastily leaves the podium without taking any question from the journalists. This proves that, that guy was not prepared to answer arbitrary questions which proves that the incident was fake.

This never happens in case of any important incident like cross border attacks around the world. In case of any such incident, government spokespersons generally hold long media briefings because of public and media curiosity.

Also, there was a stark difference between Pakistani and Indian way of narrating things. Whenever Pakistani side (DG ISPR) came up with any new development, they regularly either tweeted along with relevant photos or held media briefing. There were no such signs visible in the Indian camp. Especially, when Pakistan Air Force shot down Indian jet, it seemed like the PM, ministers, and BJP leaders, who were vociferous thus far, went to hibernation which was pointed out in the media.

On the same day, India claimed that they shot down a Pakistani F-16. In the video it could be seen that, during the press briefing, before reading out the statement, the spokes person of Indian Ministry of External Affairs, said

"Namashkar! Good afternoon! I welcome you all to this media briefing. I am joined by Air Vice Marshal R G K Kapoor. I will read out a prepared statement on recent developments on India-Pakistan front. We will not take any questions after my statement. ..."

while the assistant chief of Air Staff of the IAF Air Vive Marshal RGK Kapoor was sitting completely silent. Also, reading a prepared statement, and not taking questions afterwards seemed to be fishy.

During the press conference on 27 February 2019, Gen Gafoor said:

"... apart from that, I was watching Indian media said that they too shot down one of the F-16s of Pakistan. First thing to say is, Pakistan has not used any F-16 particularly in this entire action, or there is no such news that any of the Pakistan's jets were down. Now let us talk about...".

After more than 32 hours of the original incident, at the evening of the next day, 28th February 2019, India showed a wreckage of, allegedly, an AIM-120C5 AMRAAM missile. RGK Kapoor was seen reading out from a pre-prepared written statement. Also, personnel from one of the Indian ministries was seen to be administering the event.

Now, come to the following links. They supply enough evidences to prove that the "killing of 300-400" terrorists was false.

300 dead bodies are no joke. It takes time and manpower to cover up those evidences, and certainly impossible to cover up in a few hours. In the mean time domestic and international media would certainly flock to go there to have a glimpse of the incident. I am not even bringing the issue of smart-phone recordings. So, the news would be out in the open in a few hours.

So, in essence, this is just a domestic propaganda made by BJP government for domestic consumption to quench the thirst of jingoist supporters and "Hindutva" activists aka "Bhakts" of BJP.

What used to be clandestine operations are now publicized by the present government. What brought about this change?

2016's fake surgical strike was also vehemently publicized. So, that is not a new phenomenon. The 2019's fake surgical strike was publicized due to the coming election in April 2019.

Generally what happens in such cases in India that, government and media collaboration instantly gives rise to misinformation and extrapolation. The extrapolation generally starts or ends with " ... sources said ..." when no further information is given regarding the source in question, like in the following link:

In the wake of deteriorating public support and corruption issues, Modi wanted to show something very charismatic which unfortunately backfired.

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    This answer is built on the assumption that the military actions by India in Pakistan never happened and were a propaganda lie, but the only source it provides for that claim is a question on Skeptics from 9 months ago which isn't even answered. – Philipp Mar 16 at 11:40
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    @Philipp, The link was supplied because of its abundance of references. You believe what you want to believe. – user366312 Mar 16 at 13:31
  • There actually was some independent investigation of the 2016 matter. I find the Economist's version plausible, since the other independent investigations that I've seen tend to support it. That is, there were surgical strikes, but far smaller in scope than India's government claimed, with few deaths, no aircraft, and incursions only a short distance across the border. – Obie 2.0 Mar 28 at 16:29
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    Ummm, so it couldn't have been written by a British journalist based in Delhi? That seems more likely to me. – Obie 2.0 Mar 28 at 17:39
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    @user366312 - Here's a report with an Pakistani Kashmir dateline. By your previous reasoning, it must thus have been written by a Pakistani. ;) It basically confirms what I said, including by interviewing residents of the area. Of course, it is the BBC, so I guess it can be dismissed on that basis. ;) – Obie 2.0 Mar 28 at 18:15
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This article lays out the reason it's making headlines:

While exchanges of artillery and light weapons over the line are very common, intentional incursions by aircraft have not been publicly acknowledged since the two countries fought a war in 1971.

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