IAF refutes USA report saying no F-16 was shot down

Minnie Murray
April 7, 2019

The report said that evidence also suggests that Pakistan's F-16s were involved in the aerial battle with the Indian Air Force and only the F-16 can shoot a US-made AIM-120 air-to-air missile.

"IAF gave proof on it with electronic signature of F-16".

Pakistan invited U.S. officials to physically count the F-16 planes after the February 27 air battle, the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine reported in an exclusive report on Friday.

It quoted two senior USA defence officials with direct knowledge of the situation.

A leading U.S. magazine, Foreign Policy, rubbished all Indian claims quoting two senior United States defense officials who had the direct knowledge of the situation, in its exclusive story published on April 4, 2019.

In an apparent reference to Pulwama terror attack, the Congress leader said attacks happen all the time and then referred to the Mumbai terror attack in 2008 when the Congress-led UPA was in power, saying the then government could have sent its planes but that is "not the right approach".

However, "the agreement did not involve any terms limiting the use of the F-16s", the magazine quoted the second USA defense official as saying.

"Doosra ek zakhmi hai woh military hospital mein hai (the other one is injured and is in the military hospital)", it said.

"The truth always prevails and is always the best policy", the prime minister tweeted. India needs introspection especially over atrocities in IOK. "Region needs peace, progress and prosperity", he added.

Sources said electronic signals from the F-16 aircraft which was engaged by an Mig 21 Bison ended abruptly, confirming that it crashed after being hit.

IAF officials told ET that a Pakistani fighter aircraft of a particular "call sign" went missing after IAF's Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman shot it down using his MiG-21 Bison jet during the dogfight with the PAF that day.

IAF sources said the second parachute was of the F-16 pilot, who was taken to the Corps Military Hospital, as DGISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor had initially announced that two Indian pilots were in its captivity.

Varthaman was captured by Pakistan and was released after spending almost 60 hours in Pakistani custody.

The Indian claim of decimating the "largest terrorist training camp" in Pakistan in the Feb 26 so-called air strike has already been shred to pieces by worldwide media and experts.

Nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan have been hostile towards each other since the two states broke off from the British Empire in 1947.

Reacting to the Foreign Policy report, Prime Minister Khan took to Twitter to criticise the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). "It is effectively a slap in India's face". "But the count, conducted by US authorities on the ground in Pakistan, sheds doubt on New Delhi's version of events, suggesting that Indian authorities may have misled the global community about what happened that day".

"Everyone knows about the so-called cross-LoC "surgical strike" that India claimed it carried out but could not prove", he said.

This contradicts a statement from India's Air Vice Marshal R.G.K Kapoor that India downed a Pakistani F-16 in a dogfight over Kashmir on February 27.

Asked why would USA authorities be compelled to release such information given Washington's push to cultivate a multi-faceted partnership with New Delhi, both Shaikh and Shamshad said it was a "requirement in a sense" for the Americans.

FILE - Pakistani soldiers stand next to what Pakistan says is the wreckage of an Indian fighter jet shot down in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir at Somani area in Bhimbar district near the Line of Control, Feb. 27, 2019.

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