Forces dismiss Pak claims, show wreckage of F16 used in incursion
Debunking Pakistan claims that F-16s were not used in the offensive against Indian military targets in Jammu & Kashmir on Wednesday morning, the Indian Air Force on Thursday said the American aircraft was used in the misadventure and also displayed the wreckage of the ‘beyond visual range missiles’ of the US-supplied fighter plane.
Air Vice Chief RGK Kapoor, who addressed the media, along with the representatives of the Army and the Navy, said a variety of aircraft was used by Pakistan Air Force — F-16s, JF 17 Thunder and Mirages. This rejects Pakistan’s claims that its air force did not target the Indian military installations during Wednesday’s air intrusion.
Asserting that the IAF strikes hit the intended target and achieved the mission, Kapoor said it’s up to the political leadership to decide when and how to release evidence of the Balakot strike’s success.
He was responding to a question on the scepticism in some quarters about whether IAF fighters had hit the intended targets. Kapoor said there is credible information and evidence that “We hit the intended targets” and it was premature to assess the casualties and damage.
Sources in the Government said more than 20 Pakistani aircraft had approached the Indian airspace.
The IAF also nailed the misinformation by the Pakistan military that it shot down two Indian aircraft and captured three Indian pilots which was later claimed to be two and by the evening on Wednesday they said just one pilot was in their custody. The Army and Navy representatives asserted that the Armed forces are on high alert and ready to meet any security challenge on land and sea. But the sources added there has been no mobilisation of ground forces yet.
Tensions between the two countries escalated after Indian fighters bombed banned terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed’s biggest training camp near Balakot deep inside Pakistan early on Tuesday. It came 12 days after the JeM claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama in Jammu & Kashmir, killing 40 paramilitary men.
The IAF showed parts of Amraam missiles as proof that Pakistan used F-16 aircraft to attack Indian military establishments on Wednesday.
Pakistan lied that no F-16 was used but there was enough evidence, Kapoor said.
Stating that Pakistan aircraft targeted military installations, he added PAF bombs were unable to damage any of India’s defence installations.
Addressing the media, Indian Army’s Major General SS Mahal said escalation of tensions had been done by Pakistan but India was prepared for any contingency if the enemy provoked it.
Mechanised forces were put on standby and troops were ready to deal with any security challenge, Mahal said.
Rear Admiral of the Indian Navy Dalbir Singh Gujral said the force was in a high state of readiness to deal with any Pakistan misadventure in the maritime domain.
The briefing by the tri-services came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high level meeting amid the heightened tensions with Pakistan and after Imran Khan announced the release of an Indian Air Force pilot captured by his country.
The meeting was attended by chiefs of the three Services, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. A host of other senior officials attended the meeting at the PM’s residence.