The ‘New Equalizer’ In Military Balance Between India and Pakistan (Infographic)

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Pakistan’s civil-military leadership solidified Pakistan’s moral as well military superiority: Two-victories-one-conflict for Pakistani strategists: Military victory + Moral victory.

PKONWEB Report (Islamabad) — Pakistan’s JF17 Thunder fighters shot down two Indian jets and captured one of their pilots after a MIG-21 Bison fighter crashed in its territory–the other went down in the occupied Kashmir valley. For the JF17, it was a first engagement and scoring, as it was hitherto untested by China or Pakistan in any theater.

There were no collateral damages, nor any dogfights took place beyond the Line of Control—these Chinese-Pakistani joint air machines tactically maneuvered their flightpath and their engagements so that both Indian fighters came down in unpopulated areas.

According to credible sources, Pakistani jets also locked in 6 Indian high value military targets in occupied Kashmir, but did not take them out–making rival Indian forces aware that the Pakistani military strategists were in control and one up on kinetic operations in the sky.

Ironically, Pakistan’s eastern neighbor India is several notches up militarily. With nuclear deterrence in place, Pakistan thought-leaders outsmarted Indian military strategists, with creating a bloodless kinetic response–a new moral high ground as the equalizer in the conventional imbalance.

The following infographic shows the military balance between both neighbor nations with India firmly ahead in terms of budget, troop numbers and volume of equipment. The figures are primarily based on reporting from the Institute of Strategic Studies and published by Al Jazeera.

But did the military balance tilt in favor of India—several times larger than Pakistan both territory-wise, depthwise, populationwise, and economywise, and conversely physically disadvantages Pakistan. Yet the military superiority in numbers did not matter at the end, it has been proven.

There has been another takeaway besides military pointscoring: capturing and returning of the pilot by Islamabad which has been calling for talks and peace for several months since the newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government came to power.

It now seems that the situation between Pakistan and India is gradually settling down–Pakistan on Friday returned the captured Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot to India as a goodwill and peace gesture. Addressing the parliament yesterday, Mr. Khan announced that he will be sending Abhinandan Varthaman home today and also made it clear that Pakistan’s desire to deescalate should not be mistaken as weakness.

Related Article: Connecting the Dots: Modi’s Bid to Upstage Politics, Geopolitics Thru Brinkmanship

This move has been welcomed by New Delhi, who had been calling for their pilot to be returned to them safely. Many from the international community have also commended the decision, including United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, former chief minister of Indian-occupied Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti, and Navjot Singh Sidhu. Even our very own civil society members and veteran journalists appreciated Khan’s decision.

The gesture is undoubtedly a diplomatic masterstroke since it has not only left New Delhi in a catch-22 situation, but it has also given the world a message: Pakistan is not interested in further escalation and only wants peace.

Will returning Abhinandan therefore stop India from attacking Pakistan? PM Khan’s gambling for the sake of peace and being well-taken internationally has made Modi team’s gambit a paperweight on its election strategy of stoking tension on the border to evoke ultra-nationalism in India so close to national elections.

Pakistan and India are not in a state of war at the moment, however, upholding and following the Geneva Convention that requires prisoners of war to be sent back to their country made Pakistan a very responsible state–another one-up in diplomacy.

The peace ball is in India’s court now and every decision it makes today will go down in history, wrote Imad Zafar in his blog.

Rajiv Tyagi’s, a retired IAF pilot, message to Modi: “Stop baying for the blood of our soldiers.”

According to several observers, Pakistan’s civil-military leadership solidified Pakistan’s moral as well military superiority: Two-victories-one-war for Pakistani strategists: Military victory + Moral victory.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Army chief has informed military chiefs and ambassadors of major world powers that Pakistan reserves the right to respond to any aggression displayed against it in “self defense”.

General Qamar Bajwa held on Friday separate phone conversations with Commander US CENTCOM General Joseph Votel, Australian Chief of Defence Force General Angus John Campbell, and United Kingdom’s Chief of Defense Staff General Nicholas Patrick Carter.

He also spoke to Paul Jones, Thomas Drew and Yao Jing, the ambassadors to Pakistan of the US, UK and China respectively.

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