India didn't shoot down Pakistan F-16, US magazine says

A US count of Pakistan's F-16 jets revealed none to be missing, the US officials told Foreign Policy.
A US count of Pakistan's F-16 jets revealed none to be missing, the US officials told Foreign Policy.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI (BLOOMBERG) - India's statement that its air force shot down one of Pakistan's US-built F-16 aircraft during a military flareup in late February appears untrue, according to a report by Washington, DC-based Foreign Policy magazine, which cited two US defence officials it didn't identify.

A US count of Pakistan's F-16 jets revealed none to be missing, the US officials told Foreign Policy, undercutting India's position that its air force shot down a Pakistan Air Force jet in a clash that also led to the loss of a Soviet-era Indian Air Force MiG-21 Bison.

The aerial clash over Kashmir followed an Indian air strike on what New Delhi said was a terrorist training facility inside Pakistani territory.

Islamabad has said consistently that it did not lose an F-16, that it had deployed JF-17 jets jointly built with China against India and that it had destroyed two Indian aircraft, as opposed to the one downed jet India has confirmed.

"No Pakistani F-16 was hit by (the) Indian air force," a statement from Pakistan's military released on Monday reads.

Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar did not immediately respond to a phone call and text messages for comment on Friday.

In a previous statement in early March, Mr Kumar had said "there are eye-witness accounts and electronic evidence that Pakistan deployed F-16 aircraft and that one F-16 was shot down" by an Indian pilot.