05 Apr 2019
US count found none of Pakistan's F-16 'missing', says report
A US count of the F-16s with Pakistan has found that none of them are "missing" and all the fighter planes were "present and accounted for", according to an American magazine.
The finding by the US on the ground in Pakistan "directly contradicts" India's claim that its air force shot down an F-16 fighter jet during an aerial dogfight on February 27.
Pakistan had denied using F-16 to attack Indian military installations
The Indian Air Force on February 28 displayed pieces of the AMRAAM missile, fired by a Pakistani F-16, as evidence to "conclusively" prove that Pakistan deployed US-manufactured F-16 fighter jets during an aerial raid targeting Indian military installations in Kashmir.
Pakistan had categorically said that no F-16 fighter jets were used and denied that one of its planes had been downed by the IAF.
Pakistan invited the US to physically count its F-16 planes
According to the Foreign Policy magazine, Pakistan invited the United States to physically count its F-16 planes after the incident as part of an end-user agreement signed when the foreign military sale was finalized.
"A US count of Pakistan's F-16 fleet has found that all the jets are present and accounted for," Lara Seligman, Pentagon Correspondent of the magazine reported yesterday.
All aircraft were present and accounted for, said defense official
Lara said that the findings of F-16 counting are a "a direct contradiction to India's claim that it shot down one of the fighter jets during a February clash."
The count of the F-16 fighter planes in Pakistan has been completed, and "all aircraft were present and accounted for," an unnamed defense official was quoted as saying by the magazine.
'As details come out, it looks worse for the Indians'
The Department of Defence didn't respond to a question on its count of F-16 fighter jets in Pakistan.
Vipin Narang, a professor at MIT, told the magazine, "As details come out, it looks worse for the Indians."
"It looks increasingly like India failed to impose significant costs on Pakistan, but lost a plane and a helicopter of its own in the process," he said.
Tensions between India-Pak escalated after the Pulwama terror attack
Generally, in such agreements, the US requires the receiving country to allow its officials to inspect the equipment regularly to ensure it is accounted for and protected, the news report said.
Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after a suicide bomber of terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) killed 40 CRPF personnel in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on February 14.
Following Pulwama, India bombed JeM terror camps in Pakistan
India launched a counter-terror operation against a JeM training camp in Balakot. The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in aerial combat and captured its pilot, Abhinandan Varthaman, who was handed over to India on March 1.