As tensions mount between India and Nepal following the latter's unwarranted border activities, a dubious narrative is being run on social media that the Indian Air Force (IAF) recently conducted an airstrike in the Himalayan country.
A couple of images are circulating on Twitter with the claim that an IAF jet was shot down by the Nepalese forces as it crossed the border to conduct the airstrike. Several social media users, posing as citizens of Nepal, have shared the pictures on the micro-blogging website.
"Indian airforce had crossed the border to conduct airstrike on the Nepal territories today. India conducted an airstrike in Kot Kharak Singh Pernawan near India Nepal border. In responding, we've shot down Indian jet & two Indian pilots killed," tweeted one Irmak Idoya.
The tweet has garnered over almost 8,000 likes and over 3,000 retweets.
Fact-checking the claim
The images that are being used to support the airstrike claim are of old and unrelated incidents that transpired back in 2011 and 2019. The official Twitter handle of Press Informations Bureau's (PIB) fact-checking division dismissed the claims as baseless and stated that no such airstirke has been conducted by the IAF.
"Claim: A viral message on twitter claiming that an Indian Airforce jet has been shot down. #PIBfactcheck: It's #Fake. No such claimed action has been conducted by Indian airforce on any neighbouring country. The images used are from a previous date. Beware of panic mongers," tweeted PIB Fact Check.
Furthermore, a reverse image search confirms that the first picture is from a 2011 incident in Syria when a rebel jet was shot down over the city of Benghazi, whereas, the second photo is of the last year's crash of a Mirage-2000 fighter jet near Bengaluru.
Thus, we at International Business Times, India hereby conclude that the news of India carrying out an airstrike in Nepal and the Nepalese forces shooting down an IAF jet in retaliation is false.
Such misleading pieces of news could further deteriorate the relations between the two neighbouring countries and therefore, it is crucial to call out those spreading misinformation on social media.