By M. Hussain
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has violated Pakistani airspace and were intercepted by the Pakistan Air Force. The incidence took place on the 13th of December, at midnight. The military establishment in Pakistan is considering this to be a serious violation and PAF air bases are on full alert.
This represents a series of provocations that could easily go out of hand and lead to war, which could as easily go nuclear. This therefore represents a very dangerous situation for not only India and Pakistan, but for the international community.
2 Indian Su-30 MkI ingressed in the Lahore sector, Pakistan's second most important city after Karachi. 3 Indian Mirage 2000H ingressed in the Kashmir sector. The Su-30 Mki "FLANKER" were intercepted by 3 F-16s and 3 F-7 combat aircraft from the Pakistan Air Force, while the Mirage 2000Hs were intercepted by 2 F-16s and 2 Mirage IIIs. The intercepts were made within 4 miles of entering Pakistani territory, and the intruders were escorted out of Pakistani airspace. According to the PAF, the Indian aircraft were fully armed.
The Indians are in violation of agreements to not send combat aircraft within 10 km of their own boundaries. The simultaneous nature of the intrusion, in the middle of the night, being fully armed clearly indicates it was no mistake, and is replicative of Israeli tactics with Syria.
The Indian Air Force may use this opportunity to gather EW and radar signatures as well as measure the intercept response time and location. They may seek out information on new assets added by the Pakistani side, such as the TPS-77 radars. Both the Su-30 Mk I and the Mirage-2000Hs are equiped with EW equipment that could be used for such a purpose.
Such tactics were used by Israel to test Syrian defenses before successfully taking them on. As such, Israeli involvement, perhaps due to the death of Israeli citizens in Mumbai, is highly suspected. While Pakistan thus far has been passive against Israel, this is likely to effect Pakistani policies against Israel in the near future.
India has a small window of opportunity to attack Pakistan, given that by the end of 2009, the Pakistan Air Force would have modernized and rearmed beyond the Indian Air Force's ability to maintain an edge. By 2009, new F-16s, J-10s from China, and local production of the JF-17s would eliminate any edge India has had in the past. It is likely that because of the seriousness of the present airspace violations, J-10s will be expedited to the PAF by China.
The response from the Government of Pakistan has been to contradict the Pakistan Air Force and state that this was, in essence a mistake from the Indian side. This illustrates the nature of the government which has thus far been more anti-Pakistan Military and pro-Western than any government in the past.
The Information Minister, Sherry Rehman, claimed that it was a mistake from the Indian side, which directly contradicts the PAF, and one may add, logic. In a joint press conference with the British PM, Zardari echoed this response and said Indian violation was a technical fault of IAF. While PAF denies that it was fault.
There is brewing anger in the street at the response from the government and its active attempt to sabotage Pakistan's sovereignty and support for the military. It is not unlikely that the government will be replaced, possibly by the military given its handling of the economy and international affairs, bringing Pakistan to a crisis. However, how soon is the question.
By M. Hussain