In a major faux passe in its Independence day video, the culture ministry was left red faced as it featured a Pakistan fighter jet flying with the tricolour.
The video, initially posted on Twitter, was removed after Twitterati pointed out that the jets were in fact Pakistani aircrafts. The video is being seen as a major gaffe especially after Indian government's tough talk on Kashmir and Pakistan.
In the all-party meet which took place on Friday in New Delhi, all major Indian political parties took a dig at Pakistan's armed forces touting Indian security forces readiness, only to be left saving face as Pakistani fighter Jet was featured as India's.
The JF-17 jet was jointly developed by Pakistan and China and both are promoting it big time to garner global supply orders.
The opening portion of the Culture Ministry's over one-minute video celebrating '70 years of Independence' featured an animated sequence of the two JF-17 flying with the Indian flag.
According to a report in The New Indian Express, although the ministry declined to comment, sources attribute the blooper to the visual similarities between the Pakistan's JF-17 aircraft and India's Tejas light combat aircraft. The government sources tried to mitigate the issue adding that for an ordinary citizen unaware of the military paraphernalia, it would be difficult to spot the difference between the two.
Incidentally, parallels have been drawn between the two aircraft, time and again. JK-17, like Tejas, is touted to be one of Pakistan's best indigenous defence creations. The Pakistani Air force (PAF), is eyeing to replace its ageing fleet with the craft. A report in a Pakistani daily Dawn calls it the "backbone" of the PAF. Another report by The Diplomat, while comparing the two planes calls India and Pakistan's pet defence projects "new competitors on the military block."
Both India and Pakistan have been competing for arms since the inception of the two nations. Both understand that an ingeniously developed fighter plane can give a strategic vantage. And this is perhaps the reason why both have been trying to market their planes as a potential product in the international arena. Both countries realise the worth of a light, cheap, and easily maneuverable aircraft such as Tejas and JF-17. Therefore, it is not surprising that the two arch rivals are already in a diplomatic slugfest, trying to woo Sri Lanka to induct their respective jets.
For the time being, Sri Lanka, which was in talks for the JF-17, has rejected the aircraft and is now eyeing Tejas. However Paksitan's JF-17 can still give India a good competition, considering India's track record of delays in production and development of various projects. The HAL Tejas indeed was long-overdue in its release, according to The Diplomat's report.
When Pakistan intends to make JF-17 the main stay of its fighter fleet, such a blooper on India's part is a cause for some concern. However, this is not the first time such an error has occurred in the history of the two nations.
In March 2011, Pakistan Navy had issued a full-page advertisement in several Pakistani newspapers, featuring the Indian Navy's Delhi, Godavari and Talwar-class warships for the Aman-11 multi-national exercise.
Similarly, in January 2010, an Indian government advertisement against female feoticide erroneously featured former Pakistan Air Force chief Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed alongside Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and cricketer Kapil Dev.
In another such incident in March 2010, the Police force in Pakistan's Punjab province published an advertisement which featured the logo of its counterpart in India's Punjab state. The Pakistani force ended up blaming the printing company to save face.