Pentagon rejects US media report on Pak's F-16 count, says 'not aware of any investigation'
Washington, Apr 07: Contradicting US journal report that claimed that none of Pakistan's F-16s was 'missing', the United States defence department has said it was 'not aware' of any investigation that was conducted to ascertain if Pakistan had lost an F-16 during an aerial dogfight on February 27.
The development comes after two senior US defence officials with direct knowledge of the situation told the 'Foreign Policy' magazine that American personnel recently counted Islamabad's F-16s and found none of the planes missing.
Distancing itself from the news report, the state department, while speaking to a leading daily said,"As a matter of policy, the Department does not publicly comment on details of government-to-government agreements on end-use monitoring of US-origin defence articles." Furthermore it added,"It is important to note that since January 2018, the United States government has suspended security assistance to Pakistan."
On Friday, 'Foreign Policy' magazine had said that US defence officials had taken stock of the count that was conducted at the invitation of Pakistan and come to the conclusion that no F-16 was downed. "The findings directly contradict the account of Indian Air Force officials, who said that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman managed to shoot down a Pakistani F-16 before his own plane was downed by a Pakistani missile," the report said.
It added,"It is possible that in the heat of combat, Varthaman, flying a vintage MiG-21 Bison, got a lock on the Pakistani F-16, fired, and genuinely believed he scored a hit."
The report was strongly denied by New Delhi which claimed that they have evidence that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman indeed shot down Pakistan Air Force F-16 aircraft 7-8 km inside Pakistan Occupied Area in Sabzkot area.
On February 28, the Indian Air Force had displayed to the media pieces of the AMRAAM missile, fired by a Pakistani F-16, as an evidence to "conclusively" prove that Pakistan deployed US-manufactured F-16 fighter jets during an aerial raid targeting Indian military installations in Kashmir.