The Pentagon has claimed it is not aware of any investigation done to determine if Pakistan airforce had lost one of its F-16s in the dogfight with the Indian Air Force in February. The declaration by the US State Defence Department comes in stark contrast to a report published by foreignpolicy yesterday, alleging that India didn’t shoot any F-16 jets and the US count revealed none of the jets missing.
Citing unidentified defence officials, Foreign Policy magazine had quoted them claiming that the US personnel counted Pakistan’s F-16 fleet and found none missing. The findings contrasted the Indian version which claimed that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman managed to down a Pakistani F-16 with his MiG-21 Bison in the dogfight.
Following the FP report, many Indian media outlets, having a hostile disposition towards the Modi government, lapped up this lie and used it to ridicule the government over the claims made by it regarding the downing of a Pakistani Falcon by Indian MiG-21 Bison.
Even the Pakistan PM Imran Khan has joined the bandwagon to perpetuate the lie peddled by the Foreign Policy Magazine. Citing the report which has already been debunked by the US defence department, Khan went on to discredit the Indian claim of downing a Pakistani F-16 in a tweet posted by him.
The truth always prevails and is always the best policy. BJP’s attempt to win elections through whipping up war hysteria and false claims of downing a Pak F 16 has backfired with US Defence officials also confirming that no F16 was missing from Pakistan’s fleet.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 6, 2019
A report by Hindustan Times quotes US defence department spokesperson who claims that the department “wasn’t aware of any investigation” as mentioned by the two unidentified defence officials in the FP report. Distancing itself from the reports of investigation of the count of F-16s retained by Pakistan, the stte Department also said, “According to the policy, the Department does not publicly comment on details of government-to-government agreements on end-use monitoring of US-origin defence articles.” The Department further reiterated that since January 2018, the US government has abandoned providing security assistance to Pakistan.
Moreover, the US government appears to have maintained the Indian stance, reaffirming its account of the downing of the Pakistani F-16, citing “electronic signature” as evidence.
India had sent its fighter jets after detecting electronic signatures of Pakistani jets approaching the LoC. In the ensuing dogfight, India’s MiG-21 Bison has reportedly downed a Pakistani F-16. The Indian government had yesterday also refuted the FP report, reiterating that it has enough evidence to show that a Pakistani F-16 didn’t return to its base.
India has already shared the details of the residual Advanced Medium Range Air to Air missile (AMRAAM) shot by one of the intruding Falcons with the US authorities through the established intelligence-sharing mechanism. The details of the recovered missile hints to the consignment lot the US had sold to Pakistan. India also had radar signatures of F-16s but that was not shared with the US owing to the security of the Indian Air Force.