#SurpriseDay: Three years down, the tea is still fantastic
It has been three years to the Pakistan Air Force shooting down Indian aircrafts but the tea is still smoking hot in the country, especially Twitter.
On February 27, 2019, two Indian aircrafts were shot down in an aerial dogfight by the Pakistani forces. One of them, the Indian Mig-21 Bison, fell in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The pilot who ejected the aircraft, Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, was arrested.
In a video statement during captivity, Abhinandan said he found the Pakistani army to be “a very fine professional force, and very chivalrous.” He was later released as a "gesture of peace".
In the same video, he made the ‘tea is fantastic’ remark. This where it all started. The video provided material for most of the memes and jokes about India Pakistan relations and conflict, including cricket battles.
And every year, we get to see a new collection of memes. On Sunday too Twitter was overrun by Abhinandan-related trends. #SurpriseDay, #PakistanZindabad, #IndianAirForce and #Theteaisfantastic were some of hashtags top-trending hashtags on February 27.
27 Feb 2019 when India in desperation shot down its own MI-17 thinking it was a Pakistani jet ??#27FebSurpriseDay #SurpriseDay #Teawasfantastic #SwiftRetort #OperationSwiftRetort #Abhinandan pic.twitter.com/HVkKWRcGDW— Muhammad Yaseen Ayub (@M_YaseenAyub) February 26, 2022
Stay home stay safe #SurpriseDay #IndianAirForce pic.twitter.com/tcX3sH9j0K— Faisal Rao (@FaisalRao92) February 26, 2022
Neighbors accept this surprise cake with fantastic tea ??#BalakotAirStrike #SurpriseDay #fantasictea pic.twitter.com/HMZIws8LsQ— Junaid jj??(القدس فی العیون) (@jjStylzzz) February 26, 2022
#SurpriseDay— Dr.Madiha Mudassir (@MudassirMadiha) February 26, 2022
The art The artist ? pic.twitter.com/dch0oOdPZ5
A most expensive Cup of Tea in the World was Served to Indian ?? pilot that costs a MIG-21??#BalakotAirStrike #SurpriseDay pic.twitter.com/CtrX0brHO3— Fâizañ Mâlik (@143_faizanmalik) February 27, 2022
Meanwhile, the wreckage of the MiG-21 Bison — an upgraded version of MiG-21 — Abhinandan lost to Pakistan’s JF-17 Thunder was displayed at Pakistan Air Headquarters in Islamabad in 2020.
For hours after Abhinandan was shot down, India denied losing him and the MiG-21 Bison. It was only after visuals were shown across TV screens that Modi government acknowledged the kill.
To save face, Indian government and media repeatedly claimed that Abhinandan was able to down a Pakistani F-16 before going down himself. However, such claims have been rejected by international defence experts. In April 2019, Foreign Policy magazine reported that “U.S. personnel recently counted Islamabad’s F-16s and found none missing.”
Pakistan did not use F-16, nor was it allowed under the purchase agreement with the US to use it, in the disputed Kashmir region.
'India's failed misadventure
Earlier in the day, DG ISPR Major General Babar Iftikhar, remembering Operation Swift Retort, lauded the Pakistan Air Force for its befitting response to the Indian "failed misadventure".
"Achievements of PAF in shooting down 2 Indian fighter ac, detection of Indian submarine at sea by Pak Navy & resounding response at LOC by Pak Army are testament to professionalism & determination of Pakistan Armed Forces for defence of motherland."
Gen Iftikhar added that not just weapons or numbers but resolve of a nation and operational preparedness of the armed forces defines success in face of adversity.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan reasserted his belief in "conflict resolution through dialogue & diplomacy".
I have always believed in conflict resolution through dialogue & diplomacy. That should never be taken as a sign of weakness. As we showed India on 27Feb2019, when it chose to attack us, our armed forces backed by the nation will respond to mly aggression & prevail at all levels.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) February 27, 2022