An airborne US-supplied Pakistan Air Force F-16 jet in 2017 (Image source: Reuters)
An airborne US-supplied Pakistan Air Force F-16 jet in 2017 (Image source: Reuters)

All F-16 in Pak accounted for, claims Foreign Policy magazine

ANI | Updated: Apr 05, 2019 15:38 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], Apr 5 (ANI): In a latest twist to the claims made by India of shooting down US-made Pakistani F-16, the Foreign Policy magazine in a latest article said that America has not found any such planes supplied to Pakistan missing from the inventory.
Foreign Policy's Lara Seligman claimed that United States officials have told her that all of Pakistan's F-16 jets are accounted for and none of them is missing, following a recent check by US personnel after the February incident with India.
This is in direct contradiction to India's claim that IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman shot down a Pakistani F-16 with his MiG-21 Bison before his plane was downed. Varthaman was captured by the Pakistani forces and later released as a peace gesture, according to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Reacting to the Foreign Policy article, the Spokesperson of the Pakistan Army, Major General Asif Ghafoor tweeted: "Allah be praised, truth always prevails. Time for India to speak the truth about false claims & actual losses on their side including the second aircraft shot down by Pakistan. India needs introspection especially over atrocities in IOK. Region needs peace, progress & prosperity."
Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Friday took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his claim that the Indian Air Force shooting down a Pakistani F-16 jet during an aerial skirmish in February.
"Oh dear, how embarrassing @narendramodi if you are going to lie at least try something more believable? Everyone knows you guys can’t aim. When you lie you don’t hurt others, you hurt yourself. The great nation of India can do better. Its people deserve better," Bhutto Zardari tweeted, quoting an article by Foreign Policy which alleges that the US has contradicted India's claims regarding the incident.
The aerial skirmish occurred when the IAF scurried to repel a group of Pakistani jets which violated its airspace in late February, in the aftermath of the gruesome Pulwama terror attack and its subsequent incidents.
Reacting to the report, several Indian experts have slammed the Foreign Policy article. Vengalil Venugopal, retired Commodore Indian Navy, tweeted, "Such a statement is but obvious that they are unable to digest a MIG 21 B scoring over an F-16? The fact that their air force analysts are gaming this engagement to draw out reasons for the failure of F-16s in this dogfight is the other story!"
Air Marshal Anil Chopra (retired), another defence expert told Sputnik that the article is based on "half-truths and conjectures," highlighting that no US military official has been named.
India has constantly maintained that Pakistan used F-16s during the dogfight, with Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar saying: "As we have already said, there are eye-witness accounts and electronic evidence that Pakistan deployed F-16 aircraft and that one F-16 was shot down by Wing Commander Abhinandan. Evidence of the use of AMRAAM Missile, which can only be deployed on the F-16 with Pakistan, has also been shown to the media. Pakistan should explain why it continues to deny that its F-16aircraft has been shot down? We have asked the United States to also examine whether the use of F16 against India is in accordance with the terms and conditions of sale.”
India had also refuted Pakistan's claim that two Indian aircraft were downed by the Pakistani side on February 27.
"Pakistan...continues to propagate a false narrative of the events of that day... Only one aircraft was lost by us. If, as Pakistan claims, they have a video recording of the downing of a second Indian aircraft, why have they not shown it to the international media even after more than one week? Questions should be asked to them as to where the fuselage of the aircraft is and what has happened to the pilots?" Kumar had said during a media briefing on March 9. (ANI)