US Embassy in New Delhi steers clear of the report published by Foreign Policy Magazine of US on April 4th. Embassy spokesperson declined to comment on the Foreign Policy article. Foreign Policy Magazine mentioned two ‘unknown defence officials’ as source in it’s report who told that a counting of F-16 was done after US was invited by Pakistan and ‘all aircrafts were accounted for and none was found missing’.
Shailesh Kumar, National Defence
New Delhi, 09 April 2019The US Embassy in India has steered clear of the row caused by US Defence Journal Foreign Policy’s report on alleged F-16 count in Pakistan, indicating that the Trump administration doesn’t want to wade into the controversy between the South Asian rivals. A US Embassy spokesperson in New Delhi told National Defence today, that the government to government agreement between Pakistan and US is classified and the state department does not publicly comment on end user monitoring of US manufactured F-16 fighter jets. This raises serious question on the authenticity of the unnamed ‘two senior defence officials’ as quoted by Foreign Policy in it’s report, as the US government is unwilling to back it.
Foreign Policy magazine of USA published a report on 04th April titled, “Did India shoot down a Pakistani Jet, US count says no”. Author Lara Seligman based her report on the information of two ‘unknown’ US defence officials, who reportedly said that all Pakistani jets were “accounted for and none was missing”. Lara Seligman later made additions to her report by including 13 F-16s procured form Jordan.
India had denied Foreign Policy report and yesterday Assistant Chief of Air Staff Operations (Space), Air Marshal RGK Kapoor even gave clinching visual proof of shooting down of Pakistani F-16 that intruded in Indian Air Space. The latest statement of US Embassy spokesperson supports IAF claim while discrediting Foreign Policy Magazine.
“As a matter of policy, the Department does not publicly comment on details of government-to-government agreements on end-use monitoring of U.S.-origin defense articles”, US Embassy spokesperson in New Delhi said.
“We do not intend to comment on related media reports,” he added.
National Defence in an email specifically asked the following questions:
1) Was United States invited by Pakistan to count F-16s?
2) When was this invitation recieved by US and when did the actual counting happened?
3) What were the findings of post counting of F-16s, if any?
4) How many F-16 fighters were with Pakistan procured directly form US or sourced from other countries? And how many were found after counting?
5) Were all aircrafts intact?
6) Did US found the use of F-16 aircraft on 27th February against India?
7) What were the findings vis-a-vis use of AMRAAM missile by Pakistani jets?
8) What was the structure and constitution of US team involved in the counting?
9) Was there any representation from the manufacturing company Lockheed Martin?
The statement by US embassy spokesperson in response to National Defence can be read in the light of Indian Air Force stands. The Assiatant Chief of Air Staff Operations (Space), Air Marshal RGK Kapoor in a press briefing presented clinching visual evidence showing the use of F-16s by Pakistan Air Force (PAF). Watch video at url: https://youtu.be/2GXizgVZ8v8
Referring to the February 27 incidence, Air Marshal RGK Kapoor in his press briefing at South Block said, “As a result of the interception the primary objective of PAF Strike was not achieved. They were intercepted by IAF Su-30 MKI, Mirage 2000 and MiG-21 Bis0n fighter aircraft guided by ground radars and AWACS ( Airborne Early Warning And Control System). All PAF aircraft were identified by electronic signature (as shown on the slide). The IAF aircraft were vectored to shoot down PAF aircraft”.
“PAF aircraft fired multiple AMRAAM missiles which were defeated by use of counter measures and tactical maneuvers. In the aerial combat that followed one MiG-21 Bison of theIAF piloted by Wg Cdr Abhinandan shot down one F-16 of PAF. As shown in radar image on the slide. The F-16 crashed and fell across the LOC in PO J&K. The IAF lost one MiG-21 in the aerial engagement and the pilot wg cdr Abhinandon ejected safely but his parachute drifted into PO J&K where he vas taken into custody by Pakistan Army”.
“The IAF has irrefutable evidence of not only the fact that F-16 was used by PAF on 27 Feb 2019 but also that an IAF MiG-21 Bison shot down a PAF F-16”, he added.
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