Imran Khan tweets F-16 was not shot by IAF, after Pentagon suggests it was ‘not aware’ of US magazine report on Pakistan F-16s

The United States defense department on Friday suggested that it was not aware of any investigation that was conducted to ascertain if Pakistan had lost an F-16 in a dogfight with the Indian fighter jets.

A US defence department spokesman told Hindustan Times in a statement that they, the department, “weren’t aware of any investigation like that”, that was said to have been conducted, according to unidentified defence officials cited in the FP report, and referred this reporter to the Department of State.

The state department distanced itself from the news report saying in response to a direct request to confirm or deny it, “As a matter of policy, the Department does not publicly comment on details of government-to-government agreements on end-use monitoring of US-origin defence articles.”

And it went on to reiterate its stated policy on Pakistan: “It is important to note that since January 2018, the United States government has suspended security assistance to Pakistan.”

Earlier the ‘Foreign Policy’ magazine reported Thursday that two senior U.S. defense officials with direct knowledge of the situation recently conducted a physical count of Pakistan’s F-16s and found all in tact, none missing.

India on Friday stood its ground that its airforce had indeed shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet, after the above mentioned report said all F-16 combat jets in Pakistan’s inventory had been accounted for. The Indian Air Force (IAF) said, “During the aerial engagement (on 27 February), one MiG 21 Bison of the IAF shot down one F-16 in Nowshera sector. Electronic signatures gathered by us indicate that the PAF (Pakistan Air Force) aircraft (downed by the Indian Air Force) was an F-16.”

Few minutes back, Pakistan PM Imran said that the BJP is trying to win the ensuing Lok Sabha elections by evoking national sentiments through war-hysteria.

“The truth always prevails and is always the best policy. BJP’s attempt to win elections through whipping up war hysteria and false claims of downing a Pak F 16 has backfired with US Defence officials also confirming that no F16 was missing from Pakistan’s fleet,” tweeted Imran Khan.

The Pakistan PM’s tweet comes after the clarification from Pentagon. The US government’s position appears to be in line with India, which in the backdrop of the attack, has reaffirmed its account of the downing of the Pakistani F-16, citing “electronic signature” as evidence.