Pakistan's military has called on India to share "the truth" about an aerial dogfight at the height of tensions between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours in February after a U.S. magazine published a report refuting Indian claims that it had shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet.
The finding by the United States "directly contradicts" India's claim that the IAF shot down a Pakistan F-16 during the dogfight over Jammu and Kashmir.
He said it is high time for India to speak truth about false claims and actual losses on their side, including the second aircraft shot down by Pakistan Air Force some weeks back. "The two sightings were at places separated by at least 8 to 10 km".
In a tweet, the Pak Army's spokesperson said: "IAF claim of hitting F-16 by their MiG-21 before having been shot down by PAF gets exposed".
A newsgathering agency IANS quoted the report in the American Foreign Policy journal as having said that "two senior U.S. defence officials with direct knowledge of the situation talked about the recent count of F-16s and found none missing".
The Indian Air Force on Friday listed out a number of evidence which prove that the jet shot down by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman in February was an F-16 jet of the Pakistan Air Force. They say communication from one F-16 aircraft abruptly ended which they believe is further confirmation that one Pakistan Air Force jet did not return.
Following the conflict between the two countries in February, India had claimed that the PAF had used F-16s to target Indian military installations after crossing the Line of Control.
One possibility, Lara Seligman wrote, is that Vardhaman may have gotten a lock on the Pakistani F-16 and fired before his own plane was shot down.More news: Chinese woman enters Trump's Mar-a-Lago with computer malware, gets arrested
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The pilot, Abhinandan Varthaman, became a national hero in India after his capture and subsequent "peace gesture" release, with many admirers attempting to emulate his iconic handlebar moustache and some selling merchandise emblazoned with his face.
Two combat planes went down that day, one was an Indian and the other belonged to Pakistan air force (PAF) the IAF said in a statement. "Electronic signatures gathered by us indicate that the PAF aircraft was an F16".
Foreign Policy quoted one of the officials as saying that Pakistan invited the U.S.to physically count its F-16 fleet, which are manufactured by USA firm Lockheed Martin.
IAF sources point out this was corroborated by the confusion within the Pakistan military's public relations organisation, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), whose director, Major General Asif Ghafoor, posted on Twitter at 11:49 am: "One Indian pilot arrested by troops on the ground and two in the area".
Now New Delhi, which accidentally shot down one of its own helicopters during the skirmish, has argued its pilot claimed one of Islamabad's F-16s during the dogfight.
This contradicts a statement from India's Air Vice Marshal R.G.K Kapoor that India downed a Pakistani F-16 in a dogfight over Kashmir on February 27.
With this latest news of yet another Indian military success that was not, will Prime Minister Modi now seek to try something else?
But now the count has been completed, and "all aircraft were present and accounted for", the official said.