In statement, Pakistan reiterates rejection of widely rubbished Indian claims of shooting down F-16 aircraft in 2019
Pakistan on Tuesday categorically rejected Indian claims of shooting down a Pakistani F-16 in February 2019, emphasizing that international experts had already confirmed them as fabrications.
“The citation of the award to the downed Indian pilot is a classic case of Indian fabrications and pure fantasy to appease domestic audience and hide the embarrassment,” read a statement issued by the Foreign Office after Delhi awarded Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman the Vir Chakra—India’s third-highest military honor—for “shooting down a Pakistani F-16 plane during February 2019 dogfight.”
The Foreign Office said that two Indian planes were shot down in 2019, with one crashing in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. “The pilot who ejected was captured by Pakistan and later released as a goodwill gesture. His return to India was testimony of Pakistan’s desire for peace despite India’s hostility and ill-conceived aggressive action,” it said, adding that the second plane fell on the other side of the Line of Control. “On the same day, in panic, Indian military shot down its own MI 17 helicopter near Srinagar which initially denied, was accepted later on. Indian Air Force was completely outplayed on the day,” it added.
“International experts and U.S. officials have already confirmed that no Pakistani F-16 was shot down on the day, after taking stock of Pakistani F-16 aircraft,” it said and described India’s insistence on propagating the lie as “ludicrous and nonsensical.” It noted that granting military honors for imaginary feats of gallantry was contrary to every norm of military conduct. “By giving such award, also as an afterthought, India has only made a mockery of itself,” it added.
Emphasizing that India’s “farcical” story had no credibility before the international community, the Foreign Office said that Pakistan was ready to thwart any hostile designs as it had in February 2019. “India would do well to learn a lesson from its botched attempt to violate Pakistan’s sovereignty and refrain from any misadventure in future,” it added.