Radar images showing the air battle between Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman and a Pakistani F-16 jet were displayed by the Indian Air Force as "irrefutable proof" that an F-16 was downed, according to the NDTV news outlet.
"The IAF has irrefutable evidence of not only the fact that the F-16 was used by Pakistan Air Force on February 27, 2019 but also that IAF MIG 21 Bison shot down the F-16," Air Force Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor said at a press conference as quoted by the Times Now.
Indian Air Force (IAF) releases AWACS (Airborne Warning And Control System) radar images. pic.twitter.com/axy2uVObWZ— ANI (@ANI) April 8, 2019
The statement comes days after the Foreign Policy magazine reported that US defence officials had taken stock of the F-16s at different airbases in Pakistan and found none to be missing.
The incident involving the IAF and Pakistan Air Force (PAF) took place on 27 February, when the Indian Air Force conducted an airstrike on an alleged Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist camp in Balakot. inside Pakistan. Pakistan said that it downed two IAF MiG-21 planes. According to the Indian government, the country lost only one plane and its forces succeeded in downing a PAF F-16.
In turn, Pakistan has been denying claims that the PAF used its F-16 fighters against India during the recent air clashes.
The incident led to an escalation of tensions between the two countries.