In the make-believe world of Indian nationalist media, Pakistan is defeated every other day, China is being beaten back, and Abhinandan is an invincible ace fighter pilot.
While one cannot begrudge channels like Republic, Zee News and Times Now their soothing fantasies in the face of a much more worrying reality, on Thursday the Indian army itself grew tired of the brazen lies.
On Thursday Press Trust of India claimed India had carried out “pinpoint strikes” against targets in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, inflicting heavy damage. The news was picked up by most Indian channels who claimed that this was a sequel to the equally fictitious “surgical strikes” carried out by India previously.
Even as the nationalist media was building up to a warmongering frenzy, the Indian Army poured water on these rabid dreams.
Indian Army Director General of Military Operations Lt Gen Paramjit Singh came on camera himself and clarified that media reports claiming its army is carrying out “pinpoint strikes” on AJK are “fake” – forcing Indian media men to scrap their war cries mid-scream.
This is not the first time Indian nationalist media has been caught peddling blatant untruths, but it is the first time the Indian army has been forced to contradict them publicly.
Following the aborted Indian airstrike in Balakot in 2019, Indian media claimed it had proof that “over 300 terrorists had been killed” – only to walk back the claims once the Indian army belatedly revealed there was no evidence of causalities, and the fact that the Indian strike had hit empty hills became irrefutable.
More recently, Indian media channels floated another false narrative of a “civil-war” in Karachi following the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) rally in the city; only to be widely mocked by Pakistani netizens.
Pakistan has been consistently warning the international community about the India government’s intention of launching false flag operation against it in a bid to divert the world’s attention from its illegal action of revoking the IIOJK’s autonomy and human rights violations being committed by occupation forces in the disputed Himalayan territory.
The rapidly escalating misinformation campaign – pushed by established journalists and media houses – seems to be part of that strategy.