File photo of Su-30MKI aircraft. Photograph:( Reuters )
"All the Su-30 aircraft engaged in combat (on Feb 27) landed back safely. False claim by Pakistan of shooting down a Su-30 appears to be a cover-up for loss of its own aircraft," the Indian Air Force said in a statement.
The Indian Air Force said Tuesday that Pakistan did not shoot down one of their Sukhois on the morning of February 27.
Fighter planes of the Indian and Pakistani air forces had engaged in a dogfight on the 27th, a day after India's air strike on the Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp in Balakot in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
"On 27 Feb, our air defence system was on full alert," the IAF said in a statement released Tuesday.
It added that the build up of Pakistani aircraft was noticed in time and Indian aircraft scrambled.
The IAF statement said India scrambled Mirage-2000s, Su-30s, and MiG-21 Bisons and that consequently, the "PAF aircraft were forced to withdraw in hurry".
It added that that was "also evident from large missed distances of weapons dropped by them".
Indian Air Force statement: Detailed report in this regard has already been released by IAF. All the Su-30 aircraft engaged in combat landed back safely. False claim by Pakistan of shooting down a Su-30, appears to be a cover up for loss of its own aircraft. https://t.co/Ccd04mX53G— ANI (@ANI) March 5, 2019
India lost one MiG-21 that day — the one flown by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. Before he went down, Varthaman shot down a Pakistani F-16.
Varthaman spent two nights in Pakistani custody before being released as a "peace gesture" but tensions continue to run high between the two nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours.
On Monday, India shot down a Pakistani drone. On Tuesday, Pakistan said it had stopped an Indian submarine from entering its waters. (India said that was Pakistani propaganda aimed at diverting attention from the issue of terror and its support of it.)
"During combat, use of F-16 by PAF and multiple launches of AMRAAM were conclusively observed," the IAF said Tuesday.
India has taken up Pakistan's use of the F-16s and of the AMRAAM missiles fitted on them with the US. Their use by Pakistan may violate its end-user agreement with the US since the American-supplied jets and missiles are reportedly supposed to be used only in counter-insurgency operations.