Wing Commander Abhinandan shot down PAF F-16, aware of Pakistani pilot's identity: Sitharaman
Pakistan has been continuously denying of its F-16 been brought down. But Ministry of External Affairs and IAF have given evidence of Pakistan using F-16 to target Indian military installations.
NEW DELHI: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman went on record on the identity of the Pakistan Air Force pilot of the F-16 fighter jet which was brought down by the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) MiG-21 Bison, piloted by Wing Commander Abhinanadan Varthaman.
Speaking at a programme in New Delhi, Defence Minister when asked about the Pakistan Fighter pilot’s identity she said, “Yes, We know”. She did not divulge beyond that.
Pakistan has been continuously denying that its F-16 fighter jet was brought down during a skirmish over J&K airspace.
But Ministry of External Affairs and IAF have given evidence of Pakistan using F-16 to target Indian military installations.
Ministry of External Affairs had said that there are eye-witness accounts and electronic evidence that Pakistan deployed F-16 aircraft and that one of them was shot down by Wing Commander Abhinandan.
Evidence of the use of AMRAAM Missile, which can only be deployed on the F-16, has also been shown to the media.
MEA had raised the issue with the USA asking them to also examine whether the use of F-16 against India is in accordance with the terms and conditions of sale.
In an aerial combat on February 27, IAF MiG-21 Bison was shot down over Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), before it destroyed the F-16 in an aerial dogfight. Wing Commander Abhinandan safely ejected himself from the aircraft before being captured by the Pakistani forces. He was released two days after.