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India’s Claim of Shooting Down Pakistan F-16 Rebutted by U.S Defense Officials: Foreign Policy Magazine

Friday 05 April 2019: India’s Claim of Shooting down Pakistani F-16 fighter jet in a flying fight between the two atomic powers in February seems, by all accounts, to be off-base reported by Foreign Policy Magazine.

Two senior U.S. defense officials with direct knowledge of the situation told Foreign Policy that U.S. personnel recently counted Islamabad’s F-16’s and found none missing.

The Findings legitimately repudiate the record of Indian Air Force Officials, who said that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman figured out how to shoot down a Pakistani F-16 preceding his own plane was brought down by a Pakistani rocket.

The dogfight between the two nations occurred on Feb. 27, when India says a group of Pakistani jets entered its airspace in response to the first Indian air raid on Pakistani territory since a 1971 war. India scrambled its own jets and gave chase. During the aerial battle that ensued, Varthaman took a missile hit and ejected safely into Pakistani territory. He was captured by the Pakistani army and released days later in an effort to de-escalate the crisis.

”One of the senior U.S. defense officials with direct knowledge of the count 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 finalized. Generally in such agreements, the United States requires the receiving country to allow U.S. officials to inspect the equipment regularly to ensure it is accounted for and protected.

Some of the aircraft were not immediately available for inspection due to the conflict, so it took U.S. personnel several weeks to account for all of the jets, But now the count has been completed, and “all aircraft were present and accounted for,” the official said as published by the Foreign Policy Magazine”.

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