SINGAPORE - The leading British news agency 'Reuters' has rejected the Indian claim of airstrike in Pakistani area of Balakot and killing 250-300 people, saying there was no change in the high-resolution satellite images of the locality taken in April 2018 and March 4, 2019. A building shown in the April-2018 image of the less populated hilly area could be seen standing intact in the picture taken on March 4, 2019 after six days of Indian claims of targeting it, the report said. The Planet Labs Inc, which produced the images, has the claim that the pictures showed details of objects on ground even if was as small as 72 cm (28 inches).
The image shows no damage to the building and trees in the surrounding, besides any sign of the airstrike. The images have exposed India’s repeated claims to target the building in Jabba area of Balakot town, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, by its fighter jets, the report said terming the claims absolutely false. The news agency said India’s foreign and defence ministries had also not responded to its emails which carried some questions in that regard. Jeffrey Lewis, Director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Project at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, who has 15 years experience in analyzing satellite images of weapons sites and systems, confirmed that the high-resolution satellite picture showed no signs of the airstrike. According to the report, the Indian government had told Reuters last week that 12 Mirage jets carrying 1,000 kg (2,200 lbs) bombs carried out the attack. The Indian defence authorities said the aircraft used the 2,000-lb Israeli-made SPICE 2000 glide bomb in the strike, having ability to destroy concrete bunkers. Despite that, there was no damage to the building. The news agency said the images had proven Pakistan’s claim correct that the Indian airstrike attempt had been foiled by the Pakistan Air Force fighter jets, which compelled the intruding aircraft to release payload in haste while escaping. The satellite images have endorsed Pakistan’s claim. The stance of Director General Inter Services Public Relations Major General Asif Ghafoor was also testified by local and international media after visiting the site. The report said Reuters’ correspondents, during their visit to the area and interviews with locals, had found Pakistan’s stance correct.