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First photo of F-16 engine part recovered in PoK contradicts Pakistan claim

The F-16 PAF jet was shot down by the IAF on Wednesday after Pakistan violated Indian airspace and attempted to target military establishments.

india Updated: Feb 28, 2019 14:19 IST
Sudhi Ranjan Sen
Sudhi Ranjan Sen
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
F-16 Jet,Indian Air Force,Pakinstan Air Force
A photograph of the F-16 engine cowling being inspected by Pakistan army officers backs up India’s claim that the a PAF fighter jets was brought down by the IAF on Wednesday morning.(HT Photo)

Pictures of the Pakistan Air Force’s fighter jet’s wreckage shot down by the Indian Air Force on Wednesday have confirmed India’s stand that one F-16 was brought down by India’s border air patrol team. In the photos that have emerged, Pakistan Army soldiers are seen inspecting a cowling of the F-16 engine.

In the hours after Pakistani fighter jets entered Indian airspace on Wednesday to retaliate for India’s strike at a Jaish-e-Mohammed camp deep across the Line of Control, Islamabad had claimed to have shot down two Indian jets and claimed to have taken two IAF pilots into custody. By evening, it retracted its claim about arresting two pilots and announced that only one was in custody.

But it had steadfastly denied that F-16 fighters were part of the package that hit Jammu yesterday. It also claimed to have carried out strikes at Indian military targets without entering Indian airspace, claims that New Delhi has contested.

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Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had yesterday said one Pakistan Air Force fighter aircraft, was seen by ground forces falling from the sky on the Pakistan side during the aerial engagement by the IAF.

Sources said Islamabad’s denial is partly driven by the fact that the US doesn’t allow these platforms to be used in an offensive posture. And, partly because an F -16 fighter jet being brought down by the vintage Russian made MiG-21 reflects on the skills or the lack of the PAF.

Importantly, the time stamp on the picture shows that it was taken at 10.47 am on Wednesday morning.

Sources said this matches the time of the dogfight between Indian and Pakistani fighters over the skies of Nowshera in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri sector.

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Pakistan justified violation of Indian airspace saying it a “demonstration” of its “will” and “capabilities” to strike back following IAF strike at a terror camp in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.

The IAF had carried a strike on the terror camp that belonged to terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed, which claimed responsibility for Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed. The terror camp destroyed in the IAF strike was located in the hilly forested area of Balakot and was said to be the biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed.

First Published: Feb 28, 2019 12:18 IST