The Indian Air Force (IAF) briefed the press today in response to claims by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan that one of their F-16 jets wasn’t shot down by Wing Commander Abhinandan based on a dubious report.
Following the report by Foreign Policy, many Indian media outlets, with a hostile disposition towards the Modi government, lapped it up and used it to ridicule the government over the claims made by it regarding the downing of a Pakistani Falcon by an Indian MiG-21 Bison.
#WATCH: Indian Air Force (IAF) releases AWACS (Airborne Warning And Control System) radar images; Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor confirms Pakistan F-16 was downed by Indian Mig on February 27 pic.twitter.com/YnTnlZXsP7
— ANI (@ANI) April 8, 2019
The IAF today stated, “One Mig 21 Bison of the IAF piloted by Wg Cdr Abhinandan shot down one F-16 of PAF. The F-16 crashed and fell across the LOC in PO J&K.” “The IAF has irrefutable evidence of not only the fact that F-16 was used by PAF on 27Feb19 but also that an IAF Mig21 Bison shot down a PAF F-16,” it added.
The IAF stated further, “The Indian Army posts in the vicinity of the LOC in the Jhangar sector (under Nowshera Brigade) have visually sighted two separate parachutes.” Comments made by the DG-ISPR and radio communications intercepts of Pakistan Army formations in the area were also cited to validate their observations in addition to radar images.
“In his initial statement on 27Feb19 DG ISPR categorically said ‘3 pilots – one in custody, two in the area’. Subsequently, DG ISPR also stated on camera in a press conference that they had two pilots. One in custody and the other had been admitted to hospital and was being given treatment. The same was further corroborated by the statement by the Pak PM on camera also indicating more than one pilot,” the statement said.
“There is no doubt that two aircraft went down in the aerial engagement on 27Feb19 one of which was a Bison of IAF while the other was F-16 of PAF conclusively identified by its electronic signature and radio transcripts,” the statement read.” The IAF has “more credible information and evidence” to prove the fact but is choosing not to do so due to “security and confidentiality concerns”.
The IAF also said in its statement that it has “achieved its objectives of successfully striking the terrorist camp at Balakot and thwarting the PAF attack against our military installations” while “PAF was unable to achieve its military objectives”.
Radar image showing presence of F-16 jetsThe Indian Air Force also showed radar images taken from Phalcon AWACS, which show the presence of F-16 jets, along with JF-17 jets of the Pakistan Air Force.
And here’s the radar picture during Wing Commander Abhinandan. The IAF says these 2 pictures show the F-16 in the first image, with the track disappearing in the next. #दोPilots pic.twitter.com/3d6BSlOftb
— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) April 8, 2019
According to earlier reports, India had shared vital evidence of Pakistan’s use of F-16s in the attempted strike against India after the Balakot airstrikes with the USA. The IAF has consistently maintained that it has undeniable evidence of the downing of the F-16. Pakistan has been in denial ever since the jet went down as they were in violation of its treaty with the US which bars it from using the F-16s against other countries.