There has been an outpouring of support from across the nation soon after an article published in American news outlet Foreign Policy claimed that India’s claim that its MIG-21 Bison fighter jet shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet in an aerial dogfight in February may be false. The report quoted two senior US defence officials with direct knowledge of the situation saying, “the US personnel recently counted Islamabad’s F-16s and found none missing”. On the contrary, the Indian government had claimed a day after the Balakot air strikes, on February 27, Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman shot down a Pakistani fighter jet that tried to target Indian military facilities.
In the aerial fight, Varthaman’s fighter jet was hit that forced him to eject. The IAF pilot then landed across the Line of Control and was in the custody of Pakistan for three days. On March 1, 2019, Varthaman was returned to India.
Ever since the Balakot sir strike has taken place, India has been claiming that it shot down a Pakistani F-16 jet, however, Pakistan denied it. The new reports have once again ignited the issue but people across India are in support of the Indian Army and has been asking the government to provide necessary evidence soon. Here are some of the tweets:
That still rests. Claim still rests. The report didn't give any proofs that f-16 was not shot down. It just says some official who's not even named said it's not shot down. I don't see this as very credible
— Ujwal.Mokashi (@ujwalmokashi) April 5, 2019
Mr Poonawalla, The IAF has confirmed that they have shot down one Pakistani F-16, not any politician, i hope, you did see the press conference by the IAF.
Also, if US accepts that a MiG has downed one F-16, it would be humiliating for them, rest i leave it to your intellect.
— Bhanu-Pratap (@theunbigoted) April 5, 2019
The IAF has also displayed the debris of AMRAAM missile, fired by a Pakistani F-16, as evidence, which certainly questions the credibility of reports.
But while case looks watertight, US being involved it's also in their interest if the F-16 is accounted for and not shot down. Security reasons will prevent data from getting divulged, so I'm still skeptical. Why did or how did India ascertain they shot down a F-16
— anusha harishankar ?? (@Aharishankar) April 5, 2019
Indian Air Force Chief and a lot of senior officers categorically declared that the strikes were success and F-16 was shot down. If you weren't so sold out to Lutyen's anti-Modi cabal, you'd not have posted crap like this. F-16 dalal licking his wounds.
— Jaidev Jamwal (@JaidevJamwal) April 5, 2019
Simple Logic- why wd USA accept that its F-16 got shot down that 2 by a low down MIG Bison & as u said big deal if it went down or not. Pak hs not allowed any1 to even come near Balakot after that- its up2 Pak 2 prove no terrorist died – hv not seen Azhar in the open after that
— Chandra Inaganti (@icrao) April 5, 2019
American publication Foreign Policy. Which is itself full of suspicions, As it starts with " indian assertion to shot down pakistan F-16 may not be correct"
Mind it is stated " May not be"
Secondly it referred some unnamed Us official
— CHAWKIDAR BINDAS BIHARI (@Pravin24079773) April 5, 2019
The report has substantiated its claim saying the United States was physically present to count Pakistan’s F-16 fleet. India’s claim was contradicted after it found that all the jets were “present and accounted for”.
The reports around the matter have been making headlines as India is soon to witness the Lok Sabha elections 2019. The Opposition has been targetting the ruling Narendra Modi-led BJP government claiming the party has politicised the issue for personal gains.