Indian Air Force reiterated Monday that it has radar images of an air battle between Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman and a Pakistani jet during a February dogfight and showed them as “irrefutable proof” that a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet had been shot down by India.
“The IAF has irrefutable evidence of not only use fact that F-16 was used by PAF on 27 February but also that an IAF MiG21 Bison shot down a PAF F-16,” said Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor, the Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Operations and Space).
“The IAF has more credible information and evidence that is clearly indicative of the fact that PAF has lost one F-16 in the air action on the 27 February. However, due to security and confidentiality concerns, we are restricting information being shared in the public domain,” said the officer.
“In the aerial combat that followed one MiG 21 Bison of the IAF piloted by Wing Commander Abhinandan shot down one F-16 of PAF. As shown in radar image on the slide. The F-16 crashed and fell across the LOC. The IAF lost one MiG21 in the aerial engagement and Abhinandan ejected safely but his parachute drifted across the Line of Control, and he was taken into custody by Pakistan Army,” said the Air Vice Marshal.
A week ago, a U.S. magazine publication Foreign Policy had contradicted India’s claims quoting unnamed US defence officials as saying that Islamabad’s F-16s were counted and “none were missing.”
“A US count of Pakistan’s F-16 fleet has found that all the jets are present and accounted for, a direct contradiction to India’s claim that it shot down one of the fighter jets during a February clash,” Lara Seligman of the magazine reported.