Indian Air Force Says Radar Image Proof of Downed Pakistan Jet
(Bloomberg) -- India’s air force has shown what it said is proof one of their pilots shot down a Pakistan Air Force fighter jet in a dogfight in late February, as the rivals continue to contradict each other’s version of events.
A radar image displayed at a news conference in New Delhi on Monday showed that an Indian MiG-21 shot down Pakistan’s F-16, which then crashed across the Line of Control in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Indian Air Force’s assistant chief of air staff RGK Kapoor said. India lost an aircraft in the skirmish.
"There is no doubt that the two aircraft went down in the aerial engagement," Kapoor said at the briefing. "The IAF has irrefutable evidence."
The news conference comes just a few days after a U.S. publication, citing anonymous U.S. defense officials, reported that a count of Pakistan F-16 jets showed that none were missing. That report in Foreign Policy undercut official Indian government statements that the Indian Air Force had shot down a Pakistan F-16.
The aerial clash over the disputed region of Kashmir followed an Indian air strike on what New Delhi said was a terrorist training facility inside Pakistani territory. The details of that strike are also contested, with New Delhi saying it hit its target and Islamabad insisting that India’s jets missed, jettisoning their bombs in haste.
The issue of what jets were used is particularly sensitive because Pakistan’s F-16s were built in the U.S. and were sold to Pakistan on certain conditions.
Islamabad has said consistently that it did not lose an F-16, that it had deployed JF-17 jets jointly built with China against India and that it had destroyed two Indian aircraft, as opposed to the one downed jet India has confirmed. "No Pakistani F16 was hit by Indian airforce," a statement from Pakistan’s military released April 1 reads.
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