Rajat Sharma

Pakistan and US must now accept that an F-16 jet was shot down by IAF

AKB_frame_1107 (002)The Indian Air Force on Monday released radar images to reject Pakistan’s claim that it had not lost a F-16 fighter jet in the dogfight with IAF jets on February 27 near the Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir.

IAF Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Operations) Air Vice Marshal R G K Kapoor said, the Air Force had “irrefutable evidence” that an F-16 fighter jet belonging to Pakistan Air Force was shot down by MiG-21 pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. “The IAF has more credible information and evidence that is clearly indicative of the fact that PAF lost one F-16 aircraft. However due to security and confidentiality concerns, we are restricting the information being shared in the public domain.”

A US magazine ‘Foreign Policy’ had recently published a report attributing to two unnamed US defence officials that all the F-16 aircraft in Pakistan Air Force fleet have been accounted for, but a day later, Pentagon denied that any such inventory was audited. The IAF claim comes in the wake of these developments.

Pakistan has been caught in its web of lies and deceit. On February 27, it claimed that no F-16 aircraft was sent to the LoC. It also hid the information that one of its pilots fell to the ground in an injured condition. Nobody believed Pakistan’s claims. The next day, IAF officers displayed to the media part of an AMRAAM missile which can only be fired from an F-16 jet.

The problem with Pakistan is that it cannot admit its F-16 aircraft was shot down, because according to the terms of agreement under which the US supplied F-16 fighters, these cannot be used against India for the purpose of aggression. Pakistan Air Force, therefore, staged an elaborate cover up, but its lies have been nailed by irrefutable evidences, like radar images, electronic signatures and radio transcripts that are available with the IAF.

With the release of radar images by IAF, which is normally not done, Pakistan and the US have no other option but to accept that an F-16 fighter was indeed shot down by our pilot on February 27.

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