IRSHAD SALIM: South Asian diaspora included, the subcontinental milieu witnessed start of a surreal Thanksgiving weekend with a video news in the Tropic of Cancer region.
Seen sitting on the extreme left is Indian PM Modi flanked by his Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on the left. And standing upright in the foreground of the video grab is a stone-faced tea-loving pilot Abhinandan waiting to be knighted for so-called downing of a F-16 fighter jet of Pakistan’s in February 2019.
Abhinandan’s score was a duck though. “To Indians aggrieved by the valor award for a never-shot-down-F16…” tweeted Christine Fair, scholar of South Asian political-military affairs on the ‘knighthood’ ceremony in Delhi.
Christine’s another thread was more articulate on the storm in a teacup move by Indian spin doctors:
“It’s unfortunate that he didn’t actually shoot down an F16. From my POV, if he destroyed all ALL of Pak’s F16s, I’d tattoo his name on my ass for each one downed. Alas, it didn’t happen. India doesn’t need to manufacture heroism. I’m baffled by the need” (@CChristineFair).
No wonder the social media is tizzy trending with “#AbhinandanVarthaman”, “An icon of global embarrassment”, and “#AbhiNoneDoneAward” hashtags on the”award” to the ‘fine officer and a gentleman’ for his ‘good conduct’.
The tea the gentleman had in Pakistan after ‘shooting down’ the host’s F-16 was indeed a good conduct and well received in the media worldwide.
To put the record straight, most of the American Military equipment and the F-16s Pakistan has in its arsenal are under American supervision and under a monitoring regime called the End User Monitoring.
Christine Fair’s earlier comments back in 2019 post-drama are in the public domain:
She was invited by the Indians to New Delhi after the Indo-Pak kinetic skirmish.
So why did PM Modi and his team pulled this one on all of us during the Thanksgiving weekend?
President Biden pardoned turkeys, Peanut Butter and Jelly, ahead of Thanksgiving. So let’s pardon the
storm turkey in this teacup also.