Pakistan has rejected the Indian claims that a Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) F-16 was shot down by an Indian pilot – Abhinandan Varthaman – before he was captured by Pakistan in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on February 27, 2019.
The Foreign Office issued a statement on Tuesday, a day after Abhinandan was awarded Vir Chakra medal – India’s third-highest military award – stating that the ‘citation of the award to the downed Indian pilot is a classic case of Indian fabrications and pure fantasy to appease the domestic audience and hide the embarrassment.’
The statement further mentioned that the Indian Air Force was completely outplayed on the day.
“In a daring daylight action, two Indian aircraft were shot down by the Pakistan Air Force on 27 February 2019. One of the Indian Mig-21 Bison aircraft fell down in AJK. The pilot who ejected was captured by Pakistan and later released as a goodwill gesture. His return to India was a testimony of Islamabad’s desire for peace despite New Delhi’s hostility and ill-conceived aggressive action. Another Indian aircraft SU 30 shot down by the PAF fell on the other side of LOC. On the same day, in panic, the Indian military shot down its own MI 17 helicopter near Srinagar which [was] initially denied, [but] was accepted later on,” the FO added.
The statement further added that international experts and US officials had already confirmed that no Pakistani F-16 was shot down on the day, after taking stock of the PAF F-16 aircraft.
“India’s insistence on propagating a lie that has been thoroughly exposed is ludicrous and nonsensical. Granting military honours for imaginary feats of gallantry is contrary to every norm of military conduct. By giving such an award, also as an afterthought, India has only made a mockery of itself,” the communique stated.
The FO further added that it was obvious that India’s farcical story had no credibility whatsoever before the international community.
“On its part, Pakistan stands as ready and resolute to thwart any hostile designs as it was in February 2019,” the FO said. “India would do well to learn a lesson from its botched attempt to violate Pakistan’s sovereignty and refrain from any misadventure in future.”