Indian media this week went into yet another frenzy, with headlines saying that Iran had conducted a surgical strike inside Pakistan, freeing two Iranian border guards. However, the Iranian government promptly snubbed the Indian media by issuing a statement saying that the operation was conducted inside Iran.
Iran’s Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported on February 3rd that Iran’s intelligence forces had conducted an operation to rescue its border guards from Jaish-e-Zolm, a militant group. The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in the statement clearly stated that the operation was conducted in the “south-eastern Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchestan.”
On February 4th the India state-aligned media started airing and publishing stories claiming Iran had conducted “a surgical strike deep inside Pakistani Balochistan.” It paints a despairing picture of Indian news editors’ geography knowledge, who were not aware that the Iranian south-eastern province is called Sistan-Baluchestan, while Pakistani Balochistan is called just Balochistan.
Sistan Baluchistan is the second largest province of Iran, bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan. A simple Google search can reveal that Sistan-Baluchestan is an Iranian province. But, Indian media, from Times Now to India Today, jumped at the opportunity to divert attention away from internal issues by maligning Pakistan. It did so by once again propagating fake news of surgical strikes.
JuA’s 2018 abductions
Jaish-ul-Adal (Army of Justice)–which Iran calls Jaish-e-Zolm (Army of Injustice)-kidnapped 12 soldiers of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in October 2018 from Mirjawa on the Iranian side of the Pak-Iran border; five soldiers were released after one month of their abduction and four were released on March 2019.
On February 3rd Jaish-ul-Adal released two soldiers of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards after two years of their abduction in exchange for the release of two arrested members of the JuA. This swap was made possible after a coordinated effort by the joint intelligence working group set up by Pakistan and Iran.