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Abhinandan shot down Pakistani F-16, have electronic evidence: MEA

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. Photograph:( PTI )

PTI New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 09, 2019, 06.33 PM (IST)

An Indian Air Force MiG-21 Bison, piloted by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, shot down a Pakistan Air Force F-16 fighter aircraft and there are eyewitness accounts as well as electronic evidence for it, the Ministry of External Affairs said Saturday.

It also said evidence on the use of F-16 fighter jets by Pakistan is there in the form of parts of AMRAAM missile recovered from the site, which is carried only by F-16 aircraft of the Pakistan Air Force.

Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, at a media briefing, said an Indian Air Force MiG-21 Bison, piloted by Wing Commander Varthaman, shot down a Pakistan Air Force F-16 fighter aircraft and there are eyewitness accounts and electronic evidence for it.

In the aerial combat, India had lost the MiG-21 Bison aircraft and its pilot Wing Commander Varthaman was captured by Pakistan.

Pakistan claimed it downed two Indian jets, and rejected IAF's assertion that an F-16 aircraft was shot down by it during the dogfight.

"Only one aircraft was lost by us. If, as Pakistan claims, they have a video recording of the downing of a second Indian aircraft, why have they not shown it to the international media even after more than one week? 

"Questions should be asked to them as to where the fuselage of the aircraft is and what has happened to the pilots? As we have already said, there are eyewitness accounts and electronic evidence that Pakistan deployed F-16 aircraft and that one F-16 was shot down by Wing Commander Abhinandan," Kumar said. 

He said Pakistan should explain why it continues to deny that its F-16 aircraft has been shot down.

Official sources had earlier said Varthaman downed an F-16 fighter jet of Pakistan Air Force by firing an R-73 air-to-air missile before his MiG-21 Bison was hit during a fierce dogfight.

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'Only one aircraft was lost by us. If, as Pakistan claims, they have a video recording of the downing of a second Indian aircraft, why have they not shown it to the international media even after more than one week?' Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.