ISLAMABAD - In a worst blow to India, US defence officials reject Indian claims of shooting down PAF F16, Foreign Policy Magazine has reported.
US Defense officials have rejected India’s claim that it shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet in an aerial dogfight between the two sides in February.
The findings directly contradict the account of Indian Air Force officials, who said that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman managed to shoot down a Pakistani F-16 before his own plane was downed by Pakistan Air Force, the publication states.
The count, conducted by US authorities on the ground in Pakistan, casts doubt on India’s version of events, suggesting that Indian authorities may have misled the international community about what happened that day, it adds.
According to Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT, the details look worse and worse for India, just days before the start of the general elections there.
“As details come out, it looks worse and worse for the Indians,” Foreign Policy quoted Narang as saying. “It looks increasingly like India failed to impose significant costs on Pakistan, but lost a plane and a helicopter of its own in the process.”
One of the senior US defense officials said that Pakistan invited the United States 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.
The count has been completed, and “all aircraft were present and accounted for,” the official said.