Sunday, 2 October, 2022
HomeScienceModi’s Balakot 'cloud cover' theory fails our accuracy test 100%

Modi’s Balakot ‘cloud cover’ theory fails our accuracy test 100%

Radar, particularly of the kind used by the military and air traffic controllers, is designed to penetrate clouds and detect solid objects.

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Bengaluru: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has created a stir after claiming in a TV interview that he pushed for the Balakot air strike, despite cloud cover, as he felt the adverse weather would prevent Pakistani radar from picking up Indian aircraft movement.

He also failed to clarify if experts in the room corrected his assumption.

Statement: “I am not a person who knows (defence) science. I thought there are so many clouds and it’s raining, so there’s a benefit for us. We could be protected against radar. Everyone was in a dilemma about what to do. Then ultimately, I said we have cloud cover, so let’s go.”

Who said it: Prime Minister Narendra Modi to News Nation.

Accuracy meter: 0/5

As both the lay person as well as experts have noted on social media, cloud cover offering protection against military radar is false. Radar, which stands for Radio Detection And Ranging, works by transmitting radio waves. Different kinds of radar work at different frequencies, depending on what their targets are. Unlike light, however, radio waves pass through objects, depending on their frequency.

Apart from the military, radar finds use in other scientific and common applications. Geology employs radar, which directs radio waves into the ground and helps geologists study the composition of the earth. They are effective at measuring rock porosity as well.

Weather radar, meanwhile, functions at frequencies where clouds actually stop the waves. The water vapour droplets reflect radio waves back, so the clouds can be detected and modelled through the Doppler Effect. Some even measure the intensity of rain.

Radar used by military and air-traffic controllers, however, are built to detect solid objects and purposefully penetrate clouds. The frequencies at which they function make weather transparent and help detect aircraft through all kinds of weather. This is why special anti-radar aircraft are designed carefully to have edges that deflect radio waves and their composition is such that they could potentially absorb a fair amount to make them invisible to radar. Except for these specialised vehicles, there is no escaping radar in the air.

While PM Modi did say he doesn’t understand the science and that cloud cover preventing detection by radar was his initial thought, he fails to clarify the statement further. He proceeds with his narration, claiming they decided to launch the attack because of and under cloud cover (the implication being that it offers protection from radar). Thus, his statement is 100 per cent inaccurate and is scientific misinformation coming from the highest office in the land.

Also read: Vedic plastic surgery to test-tube Karna — non-science claims flowed from Modi downwards


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  1. Thanks Print for doing your job. Your relentless misinformation campaign has helped Modi’s comeback. Your misinformation campaign helped us to burn the fire and vote enmass to defeat the anti national narrative. The result shows who is correct. Do your job. Thanks.

  2. Country leading by a man who can only hold nerves and have people management skills.
    True representative of majority population which is uneducated /poor.
    One thing is clear election results are fair.
    Once India progress in education there election results and even intra party nominations would reflect it.

    We wish Democracy will progress and strengthen in Pakistan also so their election results become free and fair so it can indicate the country’s real situation.

  3. BTW, radiowaves, microwaves, x-rays, UV rays, infrared and visible light are all part of the broader electro magnetic spectrum a.k.a LIGHT.
    “Visible light” would have been the correct way to put it across.
    The author may please read up more on this and do the necessary correction.

  4. “Unlike light, however, radio waves pass through objects, depending on their frequency.”
    Please correct it.
    Radiowaves, microwaves, x-rays, uv rays, infrared and visible light are all part of the broader electro magnetic spectrum, which is a.k.a LIGHT

  5. As a former IAF electronic warfare officer, some things in this article need to be correctly put across.

    All forms of atmospheric disturbances can cause signal attenuation. This can be in the form of rain, fog, snow, clouds and even dust.

    Civilian & Military air surveillance radars operate on low frequency high wavelength bands example S,L&C. These are not affected by adverse weather conditions. They don’t require the resolution and accuracy for the basic work they are designed.

    However other military fire control radars operate on higher frequencies which can be affected by such weather phenomenon. These are x band radars carried on fighter aircraft or by ground based ad systems. In high adverse conditions such radar bands suffer from excessive backscatter.

    While the prime minister erred to discuss a topic over which he had secondary knowledge he was certainly closer to the mark than this journalist.

    Some basic research could have been availed to avoid looking like a fool especially when trying to fact check the prime minster.


  6. This journalist too biased and try to mislead the readers with misinformation for some reasons.
    Also you newpapers too supports the misinformation. This is bad journalism.

  7. Modi is correct. Do you think every terrorist from the camp has an access to read and interpret so called Radar readings?. They are just going to look with their naked eyes. I live in North America and everyday thousands of flights are cancelled due to clouds in the air. It is sure going to make impact to same extent.


  8. Mr Modi made a stupid statement.why should he talk abiut it when he has no knowledge of the subject.Looks like Modi is fond of just talking without realizing the implications of what he says.
    Mr Modi should be aware that there is a model code of conduct in effect due to the elections.He is not authorized to talk about defence related matters during this period.
    The problem is that Mr Modi is too autocratic and thinks the code does not apply to him and he the authority to do as and what he wants with impunity.
    He needs to be cut down to size!!

  9. some journalists are ever eager to prove Modi wrong because it fits into the propaganda to built narrative that Modi is a Feku guy. In the process they do self interpretations of Modi’s statements and also they make assumptions to fit into their objectives. Though Modi didn’t clarify about “under cloud cover” but the author assumed it to mean “the implication being that it (cloud) offers protection from radar”. I can argue that cloud provide visual cover from being seen by terrorist residing in camp to be attacked. As the author has mentioned that radar penetration depends upon the radio frequency and cloud can provide cover to weather radar. Therefore, depending upon the objective of the journalist, Modi’s statements are interpreted to keep the propaganda alive.

    • Hey bhakt, rehne do tumse na ho payega science tumhare aukat ke bahaar hai. The radiofrequency of radar used in cloud detecting metereological based radar is higher than the frequency of normal radar used for aviation. The frequency of radar is increased so that it can be used for metereological purposes. NORMAL RADAR HAS SHORTER FREQUENCY AND CAN EASILY PENETRATE CLOUDS. Instead of watching Modi videos 24×7 thoda padhai likhai kar le

    • Mr ravat i checked the link u provided and also read the the chapter provided and find that military radars can successfully distinguish between aircraft and clutter effects….so the the clouds will be problematic for the detection of aircrafts and rain will have a very little or no effects on detection of aircraft….u check ur link for the fact

  10. He has given his point to the media. But not sure if this statement was really made in their decision making meeting though he said so.

  11. Of all the things that he said in his interview this is what you get for you headline/

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