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Pakistan

Web Desk
April 5, 2019

‘Question of downing 2 Indian jets by F-16 or JF-17 meaningless’

RAWALPINDI: The Inter Service Public Relations on Monday said that any claims from India, would...

US count finds all Pakistan F-16s intact, contradicts Indian claims

Pakistan

Web Desk
Fri, Apr 05, 2019

KARACHI: India’s claims of shooting down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet in an aerial battle during the February standoff between the two nuclear powers have been debunked by the US Defence officials, Foreign Policy Magazine reported on Thursday.

The US officials with direct knowledge of the situation told the Foreign Policy that US personnel recently counted Islamabad’s F-16s and found none missing.

Read more: Pak Army asks India to speak truth about second jet shot down by Pakistan

According to the report, all the claims of Indian civil and military leadership appeared to be wrong as the count, conducted by US authorities on the ground in Pakistan negated New Delhi’s version of events, suggesting that Indian authorities may have misled the international community about what happened that day.

It is widely believed that the Modi government's claim to down Pak jet in February 27 dogfight was made to gain political mileage. The Indian opposition parties too accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of exaggerating the event to improve its image in the upcoming elections.

It is pertinent to note that, Pakistan had shot down two Indian aircraft violating its airspace and captured pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was later released as a gesture of peace.

The report, authored by magazine’s Pentagon Correspondent Lara Seligman, stated that it is possible that in the heat of combat, Varthaman, flying a vintage MiG-21 Bison, got a lock on the Pakistani F-16, fired, and genuinely believed he scored a hit.

However, the assessment of the Feb 27 events by the concerned US officials, confirmed that no Pakistani aircraft was hit.

They also concluded that Pakistan did use F-16s that day. Pakistan military spokesperson, Major General Asif Ghafoor, in an interview has confirmed that all Pakistani jets were airborne during fight with India.

On question of Pakistan’s violation of end-user agreement with US, the Penagon official told Seligman that the agreement did not involve any terms limiting the use of the F-16s.

“It would be incredibly naive for us to believe that we could sell some type of equipment to Pakistan that they would not intend to use in a fight,” the official said.

Pakistan itself invited the US to count the planes after the incident as part of an end-user agreement signed when the foreign military sale was finalized, the report said.

Generally in such agreements, the United States requires the receiving country to allow US officials to inspect the equipment regularly to ensure it is accounted for and protected.

Terming the revelation damaging for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT, said the way the events have unfolded may affect India’s efforts to deter Pakistan in the future.

“As details come out, it looks worse and worse for the Indians,” Narang said. “It looks increasingly like India failed to impose significant costs on Pakistan, but lost a plane and a helicopter of its own in the process.”