An exclusive story in the Foreign Policy magazine, by Lara Seligman, has contradicted Indian claims of downing Pakistani F-16 fighter jet during a dog-fight on Feb 27 this year. The story quotes two senior US officials with direct knowledge of the situation, who argued that US personnel having counted Pakistani F-16s found none of them missing.
Seligman, in this regard, writes:
India’s claim that one of its fighter pilots shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet in an aerial battle between the two nuclear powers in February appears to be wrong. Two senior U.S. defense officials with direct knowledge of the situation told Foreign Policythat U.S. personnel recently counted Islamabad’s F-16s and found none missing.
Seligman also argued that Wing Commander Abhinandan, who was flying the MiG-21 Bison that was downed by Pakistani Air Force resulting in his capture, might have genuinely believed that he shot down a Pakistani jet, however, the facts on ground contradict his version.
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. 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. But the count, conducted by U.S. authorities on the ground in Pakistan, sheds doubt on New Delhi’s version of events, suggesting that Indian authorities may have misled the international community about what happened that day.
The story in full can be read here