India on Friday rejected Foreign Policy magazine’s piece which says that none of the Pakistani F-16 jets were shot down in the February 27 aerial battle between Pakistan and India.
According to Hindustan Times, the Indian Air Force said that “electronic signatures” indicate that the downed Pakistan Air Force fighter jet was a F-16.
Foreign Policy magazine reported on April 4 that two senior US defence officials told it that US personnel had recently counted Islamabad’s F-16s and found none missing.
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. But the count casts doubt on India’s version of events, suggesting that Indian authorities may have misled the international community about what happened.
A senior US defence official said Pakistan invited the US to physically count its F-16s after the incident as part of an end-user agreement signed when the foreign military sale was finalized. The US generally requires the receiving country to allow its officials to inspect the equipment regularly to ensure it is accounted for.
“During the aerial engagement that followed, one MiG 21 Bison of the IAF shot down one F-16,” India’s Air Vice Marshal RGV Kapoor said, rejecting the US media report.
“The Indian Forces have confirmed ejections at two different places on that day. These were separated by at least 8-10 kms. One was an IAF MiG 21 Bison and the other a PAF aircraft,” Kapoor was quoted as saying.