ISLAMABAD, Nov 23,(Asia Free Press) Pakistan on Tuesday has rejected the “entirely baseless” Indian claims that a Pakistani F-16 aircraft was shot down by an Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman before he was captured by Pakistan in Azad Jammu and Kashmir back in February 2019.
“The citation of the award to the downed Indian pilot is a classic case of Indian fabrications and pure fantasy to appease domestic audience and hide the embarrassment,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
On Monday, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind awarded the Vir Chakra, the third-highest wartime gallantry award, to Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman for showing courage and shooting downed Pakistani F-16 in 2019.
“International experts and U.S. officials have already confirmed that no Pakistani F-16 was shot down on the day, after taking stock of Pakistani F-16 aircraft. India’s insistence on propagating a lie that has been thoroughly exposed is ludicrous and nonsensical,” the ministry said and adding: “Granting military honors for imaginary difficult achievement of gallantry is contrary to every norms of military conduct. By giving such award, India has only made a mockery of itself.”
The foreign ministry further added that in a daring day light action, two Indian aircraft were shot down by Pakistan Air Force on 27 February 2019.
“One of the Indian Mig-21 Bison aircraft fell down in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The pilot who ejected was captured by Pakistan and later released as a goodwill gesture and humanitarians basis,” its added.
“His return to India was testimony of Pakistan’s desire for peace despite India’s hostility and ill-conceived aggressive action. Another Indian aircraft SU-30 shot down by Pakistan Air Force fell on the other side of Line of Control (LOC). On the same day, in panic, Indian military shot down its own MI 17 helicopter near Srinagar which initially was denied, then accepted later on. Indian Air Force was completely overwhelmed on the day.”
On Feb. 27, 2019, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) shooting down an Indian MiG-21 aircraft and captured Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman after the plane crashed in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The next day, Islamabad announced his release in a gesture of goodwill widely hailed by the international community.
India also claimed that they shooting down a Pakistani F-16 during the dogfight, however later US media also debunk New Delhi claim and said US defense personnel counted the F-16s in Pakistan and found none missing.
The F-16 are manufactured by U.S. firm Lockheed Martin.
In October 2019, the Indian Air Chief Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria admitted that Indian Air Force downed its own Mi-17 helicopter and killed at least six air force officer and a civilian
“It is obvious that India’s ridiculous story has no credibility whatsoever before the international community, said the ministry.
Pakistan also warned India that the country stands as ready and resolute to prevent any hostile designs as it was in February 2019 and India would do well to learn a lesson from its spoil attempt to violate Pakistan’s sovereignty and refrain from any misadventure in future.
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