In a joint presser by the Indian armed forces on Thursday, Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor stated that India has enough evidence to prove that Pakistan deployed US-made F-16 fighter jets to target Indian military installations in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan has denied that F-16 jets were part of the operation—as any such admission would violate US sale conditions of not letting Pakistan use F-16s in an offensive role.
Showing the proof, Kapoor said parts of Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AVRAAM), which is carried only on the F-16, was recovered east of Rajouri within the Indian territory. Follow India-Pak tension LIVE updates
On Wednesday, Pakistan Air Force aircraft (PAF) violated Indian airspace in J&K and attempted air strikes but caused little damage on the ground as the bombs fell in uninhabited areas near military installations. In the process of thwarting the PAF’s intrusion, the IAF lost a MiG-21 Bison–its pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, who ejected across the Line of Control, after bringing down a Pakistani F-16 during the aerial confrontation to repel the Pakistani attack.
Pakistan has been receiving F-16 fighters from the US since the early 1980s, when Ronald Reagan was the US President and Zia was the military dictator of Pakistan.
The press briefing comes hours after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that the captured IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan will be released tomorrow as a “peace gesture”. The move was welcomed by the Indian Air Forces.
An F-16 aircraft cost at least $18.8 million per unit with an operational cost per flight hour of up to $24,000. With a wingspan of 31 feet, the aircraft can attain a maximum speed of 1500 miles per hours.
In April 2016, while Pakistan was about to receive 8 F-16 jets, US Congressman Matt Salmon had expressed apprehensions about their use against India, rather than terrorist camps. “Many members of Congress, including me, seriously question the judgement and timing of such a sale. Additionally, Indo-Pak tensions remain elevated and some question whether the F-16s could ultimately be used against India or other regional powers, rather than the terrorists as Pakistan as asserted,” Congressman Matt Salmon had said during a Congressional hearing.
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