New Delhi: The Indian Air Force in its statement on Monday declared that it 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 the F-16.”
It further read, “There is no doubt that two aircraft went down in the aerial engagement on 27 February 2019 one of which was the bison of IAF while the other was F-16 of Pakistan Air Force conclusively identified by its electronic signature and radio transcripts.”
Addressing a press conference, Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor said, “Have more credible evidence that is clearly indicative of 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.”
This comes after the IAF on April 5 reiterated that the plane shot down in an aerial engagement by a Mig-21 in Nowshera sector on February 27 was an F-16, rejecting a claim in a report that none of the Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) US-supplied jets was found missing after a recent count.
The IAF had said that Indian forces have confirmed sighting ejection at two different places on that day (February 27). The two sightings were at places separated by at least 8-10 km. One was of IAF Mig-21 Bison and other a PAF aircraft. “Electronic signatures gathered by us indicate PAF aircraft was F-16,” said the IAF sticking to its earlier version of the sequence of event.
The clarification came after Foreign Policy cited unnamed US officials to claim that the F-16 fleet of PAF was counted and no jet was found to be missing.
“One of the senior US defence officials with direct knowledge of the count said that Pakistan invited the United States to physically count its F-16 planes after the incident as part of an end-user agreement signed when the foreign military sale was finalized. 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,” said the report claiming the PAF F-16 fleet was intact.
The report was also used by Pakistan’s military propaganda establishment to refute Indian claim of shooting down an F-16.