India on Pak 'Immaterial' Statement: F-16 Was Used During Kashmir Dogfight

06 April, 2019, 08:46 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • Pakistan calls for 'truth' from India on aerial dogfight

The statement by the IAF came hours after prominent American magazine Foreign Policy said that a U.S. count of Pakistan's F-16s reportedly found none of the jets "missing", and all were "present and accounted for". The officials told the Foreign Policy journal that the U.S. personnel recently counted Islamabad's F-16s and found none missing.

"Indian forces confirmed sighting ejections at two different places on that day", the statement reportedly said.

The magazine said it is possible that in the heat of combat, Wing Commander Varthaman may have got a lock on the F-16 and fired and believed he hit it.

The clarification came after American magazine Foreign Policy cited unnamed USA officials to claim that the F-16 fleet of PAF was counted and no jet was found to be missing.

The sources presented transcripts of radio conversations between Pakistani ground troops on February 27, which talked about a second captured pilot, who was mistakenly identified as an IAF pilot and then taken to a Pakistani hospital.

Pakistan had categorically said that no F-16 fighter jets were used and denied that one of its planes had been downed by the IAF.

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Besides the initial video of locals who said two pilots were caught, the sighting by the Indian army and videos showing two parachutes all indicate that a Pakistan jet was shot down. One crashed on Pakistani soil, while the other managed to return to Indian-occupied Kashmir.

The exclusive report published in the Foreign Policy magazine quoted unnamed U.S. defence officials as saying that their physical count found that all F-16 jets in the Pakistan Air Force fleet were accounted for. "As regard Pakistan Air Force (PAF) action for strikes across Line of Control, it was done by JF-17 from within Pakistan airspace", said Pakistan's military spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor. The US State Department had refused to take a position on India's complaint against Pakistan over using F-16s in the air battle. The AMRAAM can only be used by F-16s.

The tension between the nuclear-armed neighbours escalated after the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group orchestrated a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy at Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14, killing 40 jawans.

"It went missing within eight seconds, after it was hit by Wing Commander Abhinandan", asserted the IAF, adding that the images show the F16 flew over Mirpur and the engagement took place in Subzkot, opposite Rajouri and Nowshera sectors on the Indian side. An embarrassing moment came for the host of a TV show when his expert demonstrated to him live on air why the wreckage of an engine belonging to a crashed jet could not have been a Pakistani F-16 as was being claimed.

The news comes ahead of India's general elections in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking reelection.

The count of the F-16 fighter planes in Pakistan has been completed, and "all aircraft were present and accounted for", an unnamed defence official was quoted as saying by the report.


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