In a major setback to Indian claim that Wing Commander Abhinandan had shut down Pakistan’s F-16 fighter jet, a US count of the F-16s with Pakistan has reportedly found that none of them are “missing” and all the fighter planes were “present and accounted for”,
According to a report in a prominent American magazine, the finding by the US on the ground in Pakistan “directly contradicts” India’s claim that its air force shot down an F-16 fighter jet during an aerial dogfight on February 27, while it was targeting Indian military installations in Kashmir.
It may be recalled that Pakistan had categorically said that no F-16 fighter jets were used and denied that one of its planes had been downed by the IAF. According to the Foreign Policy magazine, Pakistan invited the US to physically count its F-16 planes after the incident as part of an end-user agreement signed when the foreign military sale was finalised.
“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.
The count of the F-16 fighter planes in Pakistan has been completed, and “all aircraft were present and accounted for,” an unnamed defence official was quoted as saying by the magazine.