A new element was added to the controversy regarding the downing of the Pakistani F16 by the Indian Air Force making it a regular pot boiler. Foreign Policy magazine claimed that a count by US defense personnel found that all Pakistani F16s to be intact, thus negating India’s claims of having downed one.
India is claiming to have downed one of the F16 jets on 27th of February, during a dog fight over Jammu and Kashmir. The IAF says that a F16 was shot down by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthman in the Nowshera sector.
Foreign Policy magazine reports that US defence personnel, at the express invitation of the Pakistani authorities, conducted a count of all the jets in Pakistani Air Force and didn’t find any missing. The magazine claims its source to be two unidentified senior US defence personnel.
The US government has distanced itself from this controversy , with its defence department asserting that they “weren’t aware of any such investigation”. The US State Department responded to a direct request to confirm or deny the report by saying “As a matter of policy, the Department doesn’t publicly comment on details of government to government agreements on end use monitoring of US origin defence articles.” Thus, the US government has left the field wide open for more speculations.
The Indian Air Force claim to have electronic signatures to confirm its assertion, in the form of radio intercepts and parachute sightings. “During the aerial engagement that followed, one MIG 21 Bison of the IAF shot down one F16 in Nowshera sector,” Air Vice Marshal R.G.K Kapoor, assistant chief of air staff (Operations) said. He also confirmed two sightings of two ejections that day at two different places. On February 28th, the IAF also displayed pieces of the AMRAAM missile fired by the Pakistani F16, as conclusive proof that Pakistan was deploying F16 fighter jets over Kashmir.