In his debriefing, Wing Commander Abhinandan reportedly also mentioned how Pakistani interrogators tried to extract crucial information regarding Indian troops’ deployment, high-security radio frequencies and sensitive logistics in the initial 24 hours he spent in Pakistani captivity. As per the Hindustan Times report, was also beaten up, choked and left sleep deprived subjecting him to physical and mental harassment. He was also reportedly made to listen to loud music to confuse, disorient him and to cause him further discomfort.
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who shot down Pakistan’s F-16 jet with a short-range Vympel R-73 air to air missile fired from his MiG-21 Bison, has stated in his debriefing that he saw the Pakistan Air Force F16 going down on the other side of the border. However, Pakistan Air Force has denied that it had used F-16 for air intrusion in India and that it was shot down.
During the air-fight, Abhinandan’s MiG-21 Bison was also shot down by Pakistan, which had led him to eject from the jet, landing him in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir. He was released by Pakistan, last Friday. He is going through recuperation and also taking part in debriefs conducted by forces to know more about his air encounter with Pakistan Air Force and further happenings.
The Economic Times report says that Wing Commander has corroborated that he got a lock onto Pakistan’s jet with his R73 missile, that he had confirmed with ground controllers. In fact, the last message that he had sent from his jet was “R-73 is selected”. He also added that this was the missile which brought down enemy’s jet.
“The use of F16 by PAF and multiple launches of AMRAAM were conclusively observed during the combat. Prompt and correct tactical action by Su30 aircraft, in response to AMRAAM launch, defeated the missiles,” the Indian Airforce had said. PAF had used AIM-120 AMRAAM missile on Indian jets to take them down, though, none of them could hit targets due to evasive measures employed by Indian jets. However, the PAF had denied using any AIM-120 AMRAAM on Indian jets, a lie that was busted by IAF.
The air intrusion by Pakistan was part of its retaliation to Indian airstrikes on the terrorist camps of Pakistan backed terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad in Balakot in Pakistan by deploying F-16s, JF-17s and Mirage-5 fighter jets to attack Indian military installations across the LoC. But its transgression was aptly dealt by IAF which deployed Sukhoi-30MKIs, Mirage-2000s, MiG-29s and six MiG-21s jets.