ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday said India’s ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party’s attempt to win elections “backfired” as US defence officials debunked New Delhi’s claim that it shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet in an aerial dogfight between the two sides in February.
“The truth always prevails and is always the best policy,” the premier tweeted.
“BJP’s attempt to win elections through whipping up war hysteria and false claims of downing a Pak F-16 has backfired with US defence officials also confirming that no F-16 was missing from Pakistan’s fleet,” he added.
The truth always prevails and is always the best policy. BJP's attempt to win elections through whipping up war hysteria and false claims of downing a Pak F 16 has backfired with US Defence officials also confirming that no F16 was missing from Pakistan's fleet.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 6, 2019
The findings directly contradict the account of Indian Air Force officials, who said that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman managed to shoot down a Pakistani F-16 before his own plane was downed by Pakistan Air Force, the publication states.
The count, conducted by US authorities on the ground in Pakistan, casts doubt on India’s version of events, suggesting that Indian authorities may have misled the international community about what happened that day, it adds.
According to Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT, the details look worse and worse for India, just days before the start of the general elections there. “As details come out, it looks worse and worse for the Indians,” Foreign Policy quoted Narang as saying. “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.”
One of the senior US 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 finalised.