New Delhi: Showing the radar images, the Indian Air Force made it crystal clear how Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman shot down Pakistan Air Force F-16 fighter jet with his MiG 21 Bison during a dogfight after the Balakot airstrike on February 26. 

The “irrefutable proof” by IAF consists of AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) radar images proving that the Pakistani aircraft was indeed shot down by Abhinandan’s MiG 21 Bison before his own aircraft went down in PoK area.

Explaining the radar images, Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor said that while one image showed the track of an F-16 just before the engagement with Wing Commander Varthaman’s aircraft, the other one shows the signature disappeared after the dogfight indicating that the F-16 had been shot down. The F-16 fell in Sabzkot area of PoK.

Earlier US-based Foreign Policy magazine in a report quoting unidentified United States Defence officials said that all of Pakistan's F-16 jets are accounted for and none of them is missing, following a recent check by US personnel after the February aerial dogfight with India. The report itself has been contradicted as the US defence department said it was not aware of any count of the PAF F-16 fleet.

Also read: Pakistan's lie exposed: Evidence shows shot down F-16 did violate Indian airspace

“We have more credible evidence that is clearly indicative of fact that Pakistan has lost one F-16. However due to security and confidentiality concerns, we are restricting the information being shared in the public domain,” AVM Kapoor said.

The IAF also pointed at the initial statements issued by Pakistan’s Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (DG-ISPR) following the February 27 incident.

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“Certain official statements made by Pakistan’s DG-ISPR also corroborate IAF stand. In his initial statement on 27 February, DG-ISPR categorically said ‘3 pilots, one in custody and two in the area’,” AVM Kapoor told the media.

“DG-ISPR also stated on camera in a press conference that they had two pilots: 1 in custody and other admitted to hospital. The same was also corroborated by the statement of Pakistani Prime Minister (Imran Khan). All this proves that a total of two aircraft had gone down that day in the same area,” he said.

Through radar images, the IAF also showed how the PAF aircraft had attempted to target Indian military installations in Jammu-Kashmir.

AVM Kapoor said that PAF had sent its JF-17s to the northern side above Rajouri and two columns of F-16s over Jhangar and Nowshera.

He said that PAF aircraft fired multiple AMRAAM missiles which were “defeated by use of countermeasures and tactical manoeuvres”.

The IAF had kept silent over the entire issue, but has opened up now with two media briefings emphasising that it had shot down a PAF F-16.