In a very influential online magazine, there is an interesting article on the Operation Neptune Spear – where the US Navy Seals killed Osama Bin Laden. This is what the article says:
The fourteenth page of images in No Easy Day contains a map showing the routes taken by the two flights of helicopters: the Black Hawks taking the assaulters to Abbottabad, and the MH-47 Chinooks carrying a quick reaction force (QRF) and forward area refueling point (FARP) team. While the latter flew due east to a staging area northwest of Abbottabad, the former flight is shown on Owen’s map as crossing over Pakistan’s eastern border with India before looping around and approaching Abbottabad from the southeast, rather than approaching directly from the west (or west-northwest).
The map he talks about is this one:
The author of the article Jeff Emanuel raises some interesting questions based on this observations:
- What foreknowledge (if any) did the Indian government have about the mission into Pakistan?
- If clearance to use Indian airspace was requested (and granted), what was the Indian government told, either about the real objective of Operation Neptune Spear or as a cover story?
- What other assistance did India provide, either in terms of aerial diversion or supplying the U.S. with guidance on the best route back into Pakistan? (It seems clear that the latter would involve providing the U.S. some insight into India’s intelligence and route planning for a possible strike on Pakistan should hostilities resume between the two states.)
The caveat is that this book was never vetted and Owens’ account may not be completely accurate as well. Moreover, as B. Raman, a counter-intelligence ex-RAW analyst suggests in his blog – such missions are very secretive – and work on principle of “Restrictive Security” – where the helicopter pilot would not know of the mission except dropping the Seals on the ground, and vice versa, the Seals may not know the route of the helicopters.
However, having said that, there is another interesting observation that Raman makes, that does reveal a chink in Pakistan’s armour – the Defense of its border with India!
After the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai, there was a discussion in India by well-informed persons about India’s option of mounting a copter strike on the training camps of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. The US pressured India not to undertake such an operation due to its fears of unpredictable reactions of Pakistan. It was reported at that time that the Indian Special Forces were confident that they would be able to undertake copter-borne strikes in POK without being detected by Pakistani radars. Were the details of the flight path which the Indian Special Forces intended using if they had been permitted by the political leadership to undertake the strikes shared with the CIA for its operation on Abbottabad?
Basically, it seems India knew of ways and means to enter Pakistan and attack in a low key operation. Since this information – or its derivative – was shared with US, perhaps US used it for their purpose.
Or, may be.. just may be it was the “Pay Back” by India to Pakistan for the 26/11 operation. Using the US resources of course!!