On February 26, India woke up to the news of Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets crossing the Line of Control in Kashmir and dropping bombs near a terrorist training camp in Balakot, Pakistan. This was in retaliation of the killing of 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in Jammu & Kashmir’s Pulwama district, allegedly by Pakistan-trained terrorists.
Meanwhile, electorally, the year proved a good one for Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, which won re-election with a bigger mandate than the first time around in 2014. The BJP won 303 of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha, and this was the first time in three decades that a single party had returned to power with a majority.
The Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka fell mid-term, as 16 MLAs tendered their resignations and joined the BJP. The Speaker declined to accept the resignations, and a high-octane drama involving accusations of bribery, blackmail, sequestering of MLAs in a resort, and a Supreme Court challenge, followed.
While the rest of the year brought some personal glory for the likes of Uddhav Thackeray, it was mostly disappointing for Rahul Gandhi, who stepped down as the president of the Congress party in the wake of its poor showing in the Lok Sabha elections.
India retaliates in wee hours
Indian warplanes crossed the Line of Control in Kashmir and dropped bombs near a terrorist training camp in Balakot, Pakistan, in retaliation for Pak-trained terrorists killing Indian security forces on the Jammu-Srinagar National
Highway. Pakistan retaliated the next day, shooting down and capturing the fighter pilot Abhinandan Varthaman (extreme right). He was released after 60 hours in captivity.