RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Army spokesperson has rejected fresh claim by India that it downed a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet in the aerial dogfight between the two countries in February, telling India that “repetitions don’t make truth of a lie”.
Indian Air Force officials once again claimed on Monday they have “irrefutable evidence” that Pakistan used an F-16 fighter jet in the dogfight which was shot down by its MiG-21 Bison.
“Repetitions don’t make truth of a lie. Despite claiming possession of evidence on shooting F-16, IAF still short of presenting it. Don’t overlook Pakistan’s silence for not drum beating losses on Indian side. Fact is that PAF shot down two IAF jets, wreckage seen on ground by all,” Director-General of Inter-Services Public Relations Major General Asif Ghafoor tweeted.
The DG ISPR was responding to a press conference by Indian Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor who said on Monday that “the IAF has irrefutable evidence of not only 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.”
The reiteration by India comes after two senior US defence officials with direct knowledge of the situation told Foreign Policy magazine that US personnel recently counted Pakistan’s F-16s and found none missing.
The count, conducted by US authorities on the ground in Pakistan, cast doubt on India’s version of events, suggesting that Indian authorities may have misled the international community about what happened that day.
Earlier this month, the Pakistani military also released images of all four missile seeker heads of downed Indian Mig-21 fighter jet.
“IAF (Indian Air Force) claim of hitting F-16 by their Mig-21, before having been shot down by PAF (Pakistan Air Force) gets exposed,” the DG ISPR had tweeted then.
Tensions soared between India and Pakistan in the aftermath of the February 14 suicide bombing in Pulwama, occupied Kashmir.
India piled the blame for Pulwama bombing on Pakistan without presenting any proof. The allegations were strongly refuted by Pakistan.
In response, India said it carried out on February 26 air strikes on what it called a militant training camp at Balakot inside Pakistan.
The Indian government was quick to take credit for a “successful” airstrike and put the death toll to over 300. Pakistani officials, as well as the locals, rejected the claims, inviting local and international media to visit the site of the so-called attack where around a dozen trees were the only “casualty”.
The Pakistan Air Force, in retaliatory action, downed two Indian aircraft the next day, capturing Indian Wing Commander Abhinandan who was then released as a peace gesture by Pakistan.