“As regard to how to use F-16, in what context [they] were used or not now it remains between Pakistan and the US to see how the MoUs regarding the use of F-16 have been adhered to or otherwise,” Spokesperson for Pakistan Army Major General Asif Ghafoor.
Spokesperson for Pakistan Army Major General Asif Ghafoor has rejected India’s claims that Pakistan used US-made F-16 jets to shoot down Indian aircraft on Feb. 27, 2019 telling Russian news agency Sputnik that the PAC JF-17 Thunder combat aircraft developed jointly with China were used instead.
“The aircraft which engaged those targets and fought them were JF-17. As regard to how to use F-16, in what context [they] were used or not — because at that point of time our entire Air Force was airborne — now it remains between Pakistan and the US to see how the MoUs regarding the use of F-16 have been adhered to or otherwise,” he said in an interview.
Asserting that Pakistan would use whatever it deemed necessary for “legitimate self-defense”, Major General Ghafoor said Pakistan decided to respond to India’s Feb. 26 incursion but chose not to threaten civilian lives.
Now as pointed out by world famous modern military aviation author Tom Cooper, one may wonder why it took them 1 month to formulate this statement.
However, sharing Pakistan’s account of the events that preceded the dogfight on Feb. 27, Ghafoor said Indian jets violated Pakistani airspace on Feb. 26, launching airstrikes without inflicting any casualties or damage to infrastructure.
“Next day, our air force, while staying within our own airspace, took four targets in India-occupied Kashmir … Being a responsible country, we could have caused damage even to the military installations or human life … But we had to show our will, capability and resolve.”
“So what we did — we first chose the targets, and when the targets were locked by the aircraft, we shifted the point of impact to a safety distance where there was no infrastructure or human life, meaning thereby that we wanted to tell Indians that we had the capability to hit that military target, but in the interest of peace in the region we are only showing you our capability,” Ghafoor said.
He added that Pakistan had the footage of this operation.
As we have already explained Pakistan and India both carried out aerial bombing missions last week, including a clash on Feb. 27, that saw an Indian pilot shot down over the disputed region of Kashmir in an incident that alarmed global powers and sparked fears of a war.
A Pakistan military spokesman told reporters on Feb. 27 that Pakistani jets “locked” on Indian targets to demonstrate Pakistan’s capacity to strike back at India, but then chose to fire in an empty field where there would be no casualties.
Pakistan said its mission on Feb. 27 was in retaliation for India violating its airspace and sovereignty a day earlier, when Indian Mirage 2000 fighter jets bombed a forest area near the northern city of Balakot.
India said it struck at militant training camps, but Islamabad denied any such camps existed, as did some villagers in the area.
The fresh anti-militancy drive was launched after a Kashmiri suicide bomber, a member of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist group, killed 40 Indian paramilitary police on Feb. 14.
The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad said on Mar. 3 that it is investigating if Pakistan had used the F-16 fighter to shoot down an Indian MiG-21, potentially violating Washington’s military sale agreements that limit how Pakistan can use the planes, as the stand-off between the nuclear-armed Asian neighbors appeared to be easing.
While Pakistan has denied using F-16 jets during a dogfight that downed an Indian Mig-21 warplane over Kashmir on Feb. 27, it has not specified which planes it used, though it assembles Chinese-designed JF-17 fighter jets on its soil.
However according to idrw.org, “a lone A-50 PHALCON AWACS flying well within Indian territory near state of Jammu and Kashmir was first to detect close to 24 PAF jets coming towards LOC. 3 F-16s before the LOC breach happened they were warned by IAF which they chose to ignore and invading aircraft entered nearly 3kms inside the Indian side of LOC and tried to target key Indian military installations but due to early detection close to six more IAF jets were scrambled and were already in the air.
“The whole sequence of events from their takeoffs from their forward base till the time they flew back to their base was recorded by the powerful Israeli Radar in the sky. F-16 going down and Mig-21 which was also later shot down was also recorded by the Airborne system which will be playing a key role in establishing facts of the whole sequence of events which took place that day.
“Indian officials have already submitted this key Electronic Radar Recordings of the F-16 breaching LOC and one being shot down with American interlocutors who will be sharing the same with US Administration.”
Lastly on Mar. 4 when a Pakistani drone was reportedly shot down by an IAF Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jet after being detected inside Indian Airspace, in Rajasthan’s Bikaner sector.
Photo credit: Reuters, U.S. Air Force and Indian Air Force