India ready for another strike against Pakistan

Pakistan calls for 'truth' from India on aerial dogfight

Pakistan's military has called on India to share "the truth" about an aerial dogfight at the height of tensions between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours in February after a USA magazine published a report refuting Indian claims that it had shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet. He, however, said that Pakistani military had "more truth" to share in order to debunk the Indian claims of downing a Pakistani F-16 fighter.

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.

The United States (US) defense personnel recently counted Pakistani F-16 fighters and found none of the jets missing, contradicting India's claim that it had downed a Pak F-16 during the aerial combat between the countries in February.

"During the aerial engagement that followed after Pakistani attack, one MiG-21 Bison of the Air Force shot down one F-16 in the Nowshera sector", the statement read. "This indicates that the PAF aircraft went down", a source said.

Showing the operation chart made by the Air Borne Warning and Control System (AWACS), top IAF sources said there were only F-16s in the sector where Wing Commander Abhinandan was operating.

The IAF sources said that the F-16 aircraft was shot down 7-8 km inside Sabzkot in PoK.

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Besides the initial video of locals who said two pilots were caught, the sighting by the Indian army and videos showing two parachutes all indicate that a Pakistan jet was shot down. One was an IAF MiG 21 Bison and other a PAF aircraft. Earlier this week, news agency PTI even reported that Pakistan has indicated it may have used F-16 against India after all.

One of the senior USA defense officials said that 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.

In his tweet, the DG ISPR said: "Allah be praised, truth always prevails".

As a goodwill gesture amid tense relations with India, Pakistan on Friday announced it will release 360 Indian prisoners, including 355 fishermen and five civilians, during the month of April.

They have also accused each other of backing terrorist groups, with India claiming it had destroyed an alleged Pakistani terrorist training camp in retalitation for what they claimed was an attack by Islamist group Jaish-e-Mohammad targeting 40 Indian paramilitary police on February 14.

The report about India's preparation for another strike on Pakistan comes days ahead of the general elections in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party are looking for a return to power. Pakistan also claims to have shot a second Indian Air Force jet during the engagement, a claim India has dismissed. The F-16s are manufactured by Lockheed Martin and an end-user agreement requires the buyer country to allow for regular inspections to ensure they are accounted for.

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