Two weeks since the Pulwama attack, tensions between India and Pakistan are at an all time high. With an Indian Air Force pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, being in Pakistan’s custody, and armed forces on both sides being asked to be vigilant, relations between the neighbouring nations are seeing a heavy strain.
In this tense scenario, social media is full of many who are baying for blood, for avenging Wing Commander Abhinandan’s capture and the CRPF jawans who lost their lives in the Pulwama attack. However, many called for restraint and dialogue between the two countries and even caused #SayNoToWar to be the top trend on Twitter on Wednesday.
#SayNoToWar is not cowardice. The father of the nation was opposed to any war and he certainly was no coward. In fact he was one of the bravest that humanity has ever seen. Social media jingoism and mindless warmongering should not be mistaken for bravery!!— Prashant Kishor (@PrashantKishor) February 28, 2019
Politicians trolling people who call for peace, journalists thumping their tables for war, Bollywood actors - who only ever played soldiers but never fought a real battle - gunning for action. It's pathetic. People will die, people have died. Have some decency.— fatima bhutto (@fbhutto) February 27, 2019
Pray for peace before you wish for war— Priya Sometimes (@PriyaSometimes) February 27, 2019
It’s a war against terror not between 2 nations yet. Dear Media —-you can actually stop this escalation .. please let’s be responsible and work towards peace.— Ranganathan Madhavan (@ActorMadhavan) February 27, 2019
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan too addressed his country on Wednesday. While he hinted that both countries were matched in capability and had nuclear weapons, he emphasised on dialogue and restraint. India is yet to respond to his invitation, although it made its displeasure known at the UN regarding Wing Commander Abhinandan’s videos circulated by Pakistan media, which show him bloodied after being beaten up by locals.
In the events that have followed since the Pulwama attack, India carried out a pre-emptive non-military airstrike at Balakot in Pakistan, targeting a Jaish-e-Muhammad training camp – the first time that Indian Air Force ventured into Pakistani airspace since 1971.
Pakistan responded by sending three F-16 fighter jets into the Indian airspace; consequently, one PAF jet was shot down by India. However, one Indian MIG plane was shot down in the altercation, and its pilot, Abhinandan Varthaman, was forced to eject and landed in Pakistani territory where he was taken into custody by army officials.
In the videos of the Wing Commander that have surfaced on social media since, he is seen in the custody of Pakistani armed forces and claims that he is being treated well. Many people have expressed relief seeing these videos, lauded him for his calmness and composure in potentially hostile territory, and have urged the Indian government to bring him back home safely.