Sitharaman denies US magazine's report on Pak F-16, says 'Baseless, source-based'
New Delhi, Apr 07: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday denied Foreign Policy magazine's claims of India not having downed a Pakistani F-16 plane last month and criticised leaders of the Congress for "doubting and raising questions on what the defence forces are saying."
"Indian Air Force gave proof on it with electronic signature of F-16. Whoever has written it, it's baseless and source-based. The part of AM-RAAM missile, which is used only with F-16, how was it found in India?" Sitharaman said.
She further said that if none of the US-manufactured fighter jets of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) were missing then how come the part of AM-RAAM missile, which is used in F-16 was found in India.
She added, "The article that came in 'Foreign Policy', many people are calling it baseless. Someone showed me on social media that US officials are also saying that they didn't conduct any such investigation. There are a lot of people who are spreading misinformation. But it is sad that in our own country, we have a lot of people in Congress party's 'Bhajan Mandali' who are doubting and raising questions on what the defence forces are saying. It suits them."
Washington-based magazine Foreign Police reported on Thursday that the US defence personnel recently conducted a physical count of Pakistan's F-16s and found all intact and none missing. The article also quoted unidentified defence officials as saying that America has not found any planes, supplied to Pakistan, missing from the inventory.
However, the US defence department, reportedly said that it was not aware that an investigation was conducted to find out whether Pakistan's F-16 was shot down by Indian Air Force's (IAF) fighter jet in February.