US has found that none of the F-16 are “missing” and all the fighter planes were “present and accounted for,” according to a report in a prominent American magazine.
The finding by the U.S. 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.
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 finalised.
“A U.S. count of Pakistan’s F-16 fleet has found that all the jets are present and accounted for, a direct contradiction to India’s claim that it shot down one of the fighter jets during a February clash,” Lara Seligman of the magazine reported on Thursday.
The count of the F-16 fighter planes in Pakistan has been completed, and “all aircraft were present and accounted for,” an unnamed defence official was quoted as saying by the magazine.
The Department of Defence did not immediately respond to a question on its count of F-16 fighter jets in Pakistan.
“As details come out, it looks worse and worse for the Indians,” MIT professor Vipin Narang told Foreign Policy magazine.
“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.
Generally, in such agreements, the U.S. 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 the suicide bomber of JeM killed 40 CRPF personnel in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14.