Published: Fri, April 05, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

US Count Found No Pak F-16s Missing, Contradicts India's Claim

US Count Found No Pak F-16s Missing, Contradicts India's Claim

He further said: "Even if F-16 have been used as at that point in time complete PAF was airborne including F16s, the fact remains that Pakistan Air Force shot down two Indian jets in self defence".

Pakistan's military has called on India to share "the truth" about an aerial dogfight at the height of tensions between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours in February after a U.S. magazine published a report refuting Indian claims that it had shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet.

The aircraft count disproves Indian Air Force (IAF) claims that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman shot down a Pakistani F-16 before his own plane was downed by a Pakistani missile.

The government had said that in an aerial duel on February 27 - a day after India sent fighter jets to Pakistan's Balakot to strike a terror training camp - Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman had engaged with one of the Pakistani fighter jets that tried to target Indian military facilities and shot it down before he was hit and forced to eject.

According to Foreign Policy, though India has repeatedly said that Wing Commander Abhinandan Vardhaman's Mig-21 shot down an F-16 in a dogfight before his own plane went down, United States personnel recently counted Islamabad's F-16s - and found none missing.

At the time, Indian officials shared shrapnel from an AIM-20 advanced medium range air-to-air missile used during the engagement - one that could not be fired from Pakistan's other fighter aircraft - as proof that F-16s were used in the dogfight.

"India needs introspection, especially over atrocities in IOK [Indian-occupied Kashmir]".

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The US State Department and the Indian and Pakistani embassies declined to comment, the report said. "It looks increasingly like India failed to impose significant costs on Pakistan, but lost a plane and a helicopter of its own in the process".

Generally, in such agreements, the USA requires the receiving country to allow its officials to inspect the equipment regularly to ensure it is accounted for and protected, the news report said. If the USA report turns out to be true, it would be a further blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's claim that India had taught Pakistan a lesson. Three to four PAF jets crossed the LoC at Kalal area in Rajouri district.

The second USA official also corroborated the findings, saying "US authorities on the ground found that no Pakistani F-16s were missing". Considering the large number of Pakistani jets, the radar hub also simultaneously called for six MiG-21s to be swiftly scrambled from nearby airbases like Srinagar.

Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, the director general of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), reacting to the Foreign Policy report said: "Allah be praised, truth always prevails".

Following the air battle, which led to the capture of Vardhaman by Pakistani forces, the external affairs ministry had said that "one Pakistan Air Force fighter aircraft was shot down by a MiG 21 Bison of the Indian Air Force".

Tensions between the South Asian countries reached a fever pitch following a suicide attack on Indian security forces in the disputed territory of Kashmir that killed at least 40 Indian personnel in the town of Pulwama in mid-February.

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