Evidence of Pakistan deploying F-16s, one shot down by Abhinandan: India

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New Delhi, March 9 (IANS) There are eyewitness accounts and electronic evidence that Islamabad deployed F-16 aircraft in aerial engagement with India, one of which was shot down by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, India said on Saturday.

Besides, strikes on a terror training camp at Balakot in Pakistan has demonstrated India’s firm resolve to take decisive action against cross-border terrorism, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said briefing reporters here.

The strikes at terror camp carried out at Balakot in Pakistan after the Pulwama terror attack were successful and achieved the desired objectives, he said, adding that Islamabad’s refusal to allow access to journalists to the site of attack means that they have plenty to hide.

Kumar said Indian Air Force has said that only one aircraft was lost but Pakistan was speaking lies.

“If, as Pakistan claims, they have a video recording of the downing of a second Indian aircraft, why have they not shown it to the international media even after more than one week? Questions should be asked to them as to where the fuselage of the aircraft is and what has happened to the pilots?” he said.

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“There are eye-witness accounts and electronic evidence that Pakistan deployed F-16 aircraft and that one F-16 was shot down by Wing Commander Abhinandan. Evidence of the use of AM-RAAM Missile, which can only be deployed on the F-16 with Pakistan, has also been shown to the media. Pakistan should explain why it continues to deny that its F-16 aircraft has been shot down?” he said.

Kumar said India has asked the United States to also examine whether the use of F-16 against India is in accordance with the terms and conditions of sale.

Answering a question about Pakistan refusing access to journalists from visiting the site, he said: “It means that they have plenty to hide.”

“So this initial bravado that ‘everything is open, please come and visit’, has disappeared,” he said.

On the UNSC resolution moved by France, the US and the UK at the UN Security Council (UNSC) for the listing of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a designated terrorist, he said all the 15 members of the UNSC had unanimously issued a press statement strongly condemning the Pulwama terrorist attack.

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“All members of the UNSC are aware about Jaish-e-Mohammed training camps in Pakistan and about the chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed and his presence in Pakistan. We call upon all members of the UNSC to list Masood Azhar as a designated terrorist under 1267 UN Sanctions Committee,” he said.

He said Pakistan has been trying to get out of this and opposing the declaration of Masood Azhar as “designated terrorist” under the 1267 committee and India has been working with international partners to ensure that he is branded a designated terrorist.

Kumar said India’s strike has achieved the intended objective. “It has demonstrated our firm resolve that we will take decisive action against cross-border terrorism. So I think that is very clear and there is no doubt on that.”

Kumar said it is regrettable that Pakistan still continues to deny Jaish-e-Mohammed’s own claim on taking ownership of the Pulwama attack.

“Is Pakistan defending the Jaish-e-Mohammed and acting as its spokesperson? Does Pakistan’s claim have any credibility?” he asked.

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He said Pakistani leadership has gone on record about the presence of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pakistan.

“In Pakistan Foreign Minister’s interview with CNN, repeatedly a question was posed to him referring to Masood Azhar as the chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed and not a single time he contradicted the question.

“So we are very clear that Jaish-e-Mohammed is in Pakistan, the chief is in Pakistan and also in terms of linkage… I mean if you go through the interview which Pakistani Foreign Minister has given, it is very clear they are also in touch with the organisation which also proves the complicity part,” he said.

Kumar said Pakistan has failed to live up to its commitments and also failed to take any credible action against Jaish-e-Mohammed and other terrorist organisations, which continue to operate with impunity from Pakistan.

He said in an interview on March 6, the spokesperson of the Pakistan armed forces openly denied the presence of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pakistan.

“This statement is a sufficient proof that Pakistan still remains in a state of denial,” he added.

–IANS

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