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Today, India carried out an airstrike against an alleged terrorist camp based in Pakistan. After the strike, India claimed they killed about 350 terrorists.

India has not provided any proof of this.

Given that tensions between India and Pakistan are high, that both nations possess nuclear weapons (Pakistan have an estimated 140 warheads, India have 130, and neither country are part of the proliferation treaty, so these numbers are estimated to rise in the coming years), and that Pakistan literally came out and said it would 'retaliate', what possible reasons does India have for not providing proof that they actually did target and accomplished demolishing a terrorist training camp?

It seems logical that in carrying out such a strike, India has brought the two nations closer to warfare. As everyone would like to avoid such an event (an all-out war means mutual destruction), what reasons does India have to not cool tensions by merely providing proof that it did indeed target a terrorist group?

Since it was an air-strike, obviously such proof ought to exist: any sort of aerial or satelitte photo would be enough to garner the support of the international community and Pakistan would be pressured to accept it, similar to how Pakistan was forced to accept US strikes on Pakistani soil, because the US provided proof that it actually hit terrorists.

Questions: So, in short, what reasons are there for India not providing proof? Has they stated any reasons as to why they do not provide proof? Has any member of the international community stated that it requires proof?

For what it's worth (probably not much), Pakistan claim that India's attack hit nothing but a few trees.

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    I think this question could do with some links to news stories etc. Otherwise, it can be a good question but it might be somewhat speculative. – JJJ Feb 26 at 16:52
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    What exactly constitutes "proof" here? Indeed, it's not entirely clear to me what exactly you want to be proved. That India carried out airstrikes? That what was struck was in fact a jihadist base? That about 350 jihadists were killed? – jamesqf Feb 26 at 17:09
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    The AP is reporting that no one was hurt. Speculation (hence, a comment and not an answer) but India is practicing deterrence with an "acceptable" escalation; and this is relevant as elections (including Modi seeking a second term) are in a few weeks, as WaPo points out. – BurnsBA Feb 26 at 19:32
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A good reason for not supplying proof is that then there would be proof out there. As it is, it's just a claim that India is making. If India provides proof and releases it publicly, it could have the effect of increasing pressure on Pakistan to respond. By witholding proof, Pakistan has the option of claiming that the attack was not as bad as India is claiming (which they seem to be doing), giving some domestic political cover if Pakistan's politicians decide not to make the next move.

The claim itself may not have any proof behind it at all if it is in fact false, and a good reason for not releasing something is that it doesn't exist. There are some claims I've seen floating around that the "terrorist camps" were in fact "empty forested areas" with the net result of causing "no casualties." To me half a world away it sounds at least plausible if the impetus behind the attack was to satisfy domestic Indian hardliners that "something is being done" after the Pulwama bombing, instead of there being any tactical or strategic goal of the armed forces.

Even if India's claims are true, Pakistan has the option currently of saying they are not and instead choose to step down tensions.

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To answer a broad question with a broad answer:

  1. Airstrikes usually look like buildings and people blowing up from gun cams. Unless they have other footage it would prove nothing.

  2. Militaries hate having their doctrine and equipment shown. Even if their kind and capabilities are well known.

Perhaps the question should be How can the Indians prove their attack was on a terrorist camp.

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If by proof you mean those scary frame by frame videos of smart bombs locking on and destroying the target in a flash of IR...it depends.

It is reported that 1000 kg bombs were used in the attack delivered by Mirage 2000H attack aircraft.

Early on Tuesday (Feb 26) at around 3.30am, a group of Mirage 2000 - a single engine fighter jet - dropped 1,000kg bombs on terror camps across the Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border between India and Pakistan, said ANI, a multi-media news agency.

As far as I know, the IAF is currently using GBU-12 Paveway II 500 kg smart bombs, such as used in Desert Storm. I cannot find any evidence that they have GBU-16 1000 kg smart bombs.

While they claimed to have conducted a "surgical strike", it is possible they were using 1000kg. dumb bombs. No cameras. Satellite photos and resolution are usually restricted as they give away intelligence capabilities.

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