Diplomacy in Action

As we celebrate the fifth anniversary of ‘Operation Swift Retort,’ we are reminded of Pakistan’s firm commitment to safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The events of February 27, 2019, when the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) responded decisively to Indian airspace violations, not only showcased the professionalism and determination of our armed forces but also dismantled baseless Indian claims. In the aftermath of the tragic Pulwama attack on February 14, 2019, tensions escalated between Pakistan and India. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised a “strong response,” setting the stage for a critical moment in our history.

In response to Indian airspace violations, the PAF shot down two Indian planes. An Indian pilot was captured and later released. This response by our armed forces highlights their maturity in resolving conflicts. The ISPR highlighted February 27, 2019, as a symbol of Pakistani resilience and the armed forces’ professionalism against unwarranted aggression. 

Another important aspect to note is that Pakistan’s military is widely recognised as superior to India’s, despite India’s efforts to control the narrative. The ISPR emphasised that on that crucial day, Pakistan’s armed forces clearly outperformed their Indian counterparts. Global military experts and analysts acknowledged the strength and competence of Pakistan’s forces. 

The decision to return the captured Indian pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, highlights Pakistan’s commitment to peace and earned international acclaim for its diplomatic maturity. Opting for diplomacy over aggression showcases our nation’s strategic foresight and the ability to exercise restraint even in the face of provocation. This action highlights that Pakistan is not only a military power but also a nation committed to promoting regional stability through diplomatic efforts.

Releasing the captured Indian pilot sends a significant message to the global community that Pakistan’s military role extends beyond combating those who attack the nation. It emphasises that the military is not only tasked with defending against external threats but is also committed to fostering peace through its actions.

Looking ahead, Pakistan must continue to emphasise peaceful coexistence with its neighbours while maintaining a strong defence position. The ISPR’s statement serves as a strong deterrent against potential threats. In doing so, Pakistan can build on its commitment to peace and the professionalism of its armed forces to contribute to a more secure South Asian region.

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