Pakistan PM accuses India of war hysteria over downed F-16 claim

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Washington-based Foreign Policy magazine reported on Thursday that American personnel had recently counted the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) F-16s and found none of the planes missing.

India's statement that its air force shot down one of Pakistan's US -built F-16 aircraft during a military flareup in late February appears untrue, according to a report by Washington, D.C. -based Foreign Policy magazine, which cited two USA defense officials it didn't identify.

He had also said that Indian forces confirmed ejections at two different places on that day which were separated by no more than 8-10 kms.

Islamabad claimed that it downed two IAF MiG-21 planes in response to the February 26 Indian air raid on an alleged terrorist camp on Pakistani territory and arrested their pilots.

India said it too had shot down a Pakistani aircraft and the air force displayed pieces of a missile that it said had been fired by a Pakistani F-16 before it went down. After the February 27 dogfight, India had complained to the USA that Pakistan misused the F-16 and also showed as evidence a piece of an AMRAAM (advanced medium-range air-to-air missile) that can be only fired from a US-made F-16 which are with PAF.

The IAF has clinching digital evidence to show how a Pakistani F-16 jet and its pilot were brought down during an aerial dogfight on February 27.

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Although the report is not likely to sway Indian voters, Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT, said the way the events had unfolded might affect India's efforts to deter Pakistan in the future.

According to the sale agreement, Pakistan is prohibited from flying F-16s out of the country without giving a heads-up to the United States.

This electronic signature, which is a kind of vibration or radiation during flight, is unique for every aircraft like the human signature.

No sooner than the magazine report was out on Saturday, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said, "The truth always prevails and is always the best policy..." They were intercepted by IAF Sukhoi Su-30MKI, Mirage 2000 and Mig 21 Bison fighters guided by ground radars and AWACS.

Nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan have been hostile towards each other since the two states broke off from the British Empire in 1947.

The findings, the magazine said, directly contradict the account of Indian Air Force (IAF) officials, who said that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman managed to shoot down a Pakistani F-16 before his own plane was downed by a Pakistani missile. And it took a while because not all aircraft were immediately available for inspection due to the conflict. Promising to expedite early delivery of the equipment to the Pakistani armed forces in 2007, lieutenant-general Jeffrey B. Kohler, chief of the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, had said: "Our country is very sensitive to Pakistan's defense needs".

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