The Indian Air Force (IAF) Monday released radar images as “irrefutable” evidence to confirm that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman had shot down Pakistan’s F-16 fighter jet during the aerial confrontation on February 27 in the Nowshera sector near the Line of Control (LoC).
While addressing the media, Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor said, “The IAF has irrefutable evidence of not only the fact that F-16 was used by Pakistan Air Force on February 27, but also that an IAF Mig 21 Bison shot down a Pakistan Air Force F-16.” Read in Bangla
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“There is no doubt that two aircraft went down in the aerial engagement on February 27, one of which was a Bison of IAF while the other was an F-16 of PAF conclusively identified by its electronic signature and radio transcripts.”
Citing security concerns, the official refused to provide further information on the downing of the F-16. “We have more credible evidence that is clearly indicative of the fact that Pakistan has lost one F-16. However, due to security and confidentiality concerns, we are restricting the information being shared in the public domain,” Kapoor said.
The IAF’s assertion comes in the wake of US-based Foreign Policy magazine’s report that cited unnamed US officials saying that Pakistan’s F-16 combat jets “have all been accounted for”. The report, which was published last week, quoted those officials as saying that the counting was done at Pakistan’s request as part of end-user agreement and took some time as the aircraft were deployed.
.@IAF_MCC has irrefutable evidence of not only the fact that the F-16 was used by Pakistan Air Force on February 27, 2019 but also that IAF MIG 21 Bison shot down Pak’s F-16. IAF also has more credible info and evidence that PAF lost one F- 16: IAF statement. @IndianExpress
— rahul tripathi (@rahultripathi) April 8, 2019
After the report, Pakistan military urged its Indian counterpart to “speak the truth” about the “actual losses” in the dogfight that took place after Pakistan Air Force retaliated to India’s airstrikes on “non-military targets” in Balakot.
However, a Pentagon spokesperson was later quoted as having said that the US Defence Department “were not aware of any investigation like that”, while referring the query to the US State Department. The State Department, however, was quoted as having said that “As a matter of policy, the Department does not publicly comment on details of government-to-government agreements on end-use monitoring of US-origin defence articles.”