NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force on Monday reiterated that it has credible evidence that the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) lost an F-16 jet during the February 27 aerial combat.
The IAF held a media briefing at the Defence Ministry and showed radar images of the engagement to assert that it has irrefutable evidence of downing the enemy jet.
They shared images of the control system (AWACS) and several slides of graphics capture from the airborne warning.
“Not only the IAF has irrefutable evidence of the fact that F-16 was used by Pakistan Air Force on February 27, but also that an IAF Mig 21 Bison shot down a Pakistan Air Force F-16," Air Vice Marshal R G Kapoor said in a statement.
On Friday, the IAF had asserted that it shot down an F-16 fighter jet of Pakistan during the dogfight.
IAF reaction came following a report in a leading US news magazine which contradicted India's contention.
Earlier, a US-based Foreign Policy magazine reported that two senior US defence officials with direct knowledge of the situation. They added that American personnel recently counted Islamabad's F-16s and found none of the planes missing.
The report contradicted the claim made by New Delhi that the IAF shot down an F-16 jet of Pakistan.
Earlier IAF had said, Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman engaged with one of the Pakistani F-16s and shot it down before his Mig-21 Bison was downed.
Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after the February 14 Pulwama terror attack. Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was caused by a suicide bomber.
On February 14, an explosives-laden truck rammed into a CRPF convoy in Pulwama outside Srinagar, killing more than 40 soldiers in one of the biggest terror attacks in recent years.
The convoy comprised 78 buses in which around 2500 personnel were travelling from Jammu to Srinagar.
On February 26, the Indian Air Force carried out a counter-terror operation and attacked terror camps in Balakot area in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The air strikes come 12 days after the dreaded terror outfit-Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) carried out a debilitating attack on the CRPF convoy in Pulwama.
In response, On February 27, Pakistani F-16 jets violated the Line of Control and the aerial fight ensued.
Subsequently, Indian fighter jet shot down Pakistan’s F-16 fighter jet, which landed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 and captured an Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman. However, he was released on March 1st after spending nearly 60 hours in Pakistani custody.