On 27 February, Indian and Pakistani warplanes engaged in an air battle over Kashmir following New Delhi’s attack on a jihadist camp on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control a day earlier. The dogfight reportedly led to the downing of two Indian planes, as well as a Pakistani F-16.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has denied Islamabad’s claims that an Indian Su-30 fighter jet was downed during the February 27 air battle between the two countries’ warplanes.
“False claim by Pakistan of shooting down a Su-30 appears to be a cover up for the loss of its own aircraft”, the IAF said in a statement.
The IAF added that its Mirage-2000, Su-30 and MiG-21 Bison aircraft “were involved in the engagement” after what it described as Pakistan’s attempt to attack Indian ground targets using Pakistani Air Force (PAF) planes.
“During combat, use of F-16 by PAF and multiple launches of AMRAAM [air-to-air missile] were conclusively observed. Prompt and correct tactical action by Su-30 aircraft, in response to AMRAAM launch, defeated the missile”, the IAF pointed out.
The statement came after IAF Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor said late last week that India’s MiG-21 Bison shot down a PAF F-16 on 27 February in an aerial incident in the contested province of Kashmir.
The PAF earlier denied that it had deployed F-16 aircraft during the February 27 air battle, stressing that no PAF aircraft had been hit and that India’s MiG-21 was downed over Pakistan.
The pilot of the downed plane was handed over to India on 1 March in what Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan described as a “peace gesture”.
On 26 February, the IAF conducted an assault on an alleged terrorist base in the Pakistan-administered part of Kashmir, reportedly destroying several facilities. The air raid followed a suicide attack claimed by the Pakistan-based terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad on 14 February that killed over 40 Indian soldiers.
India blamed Pakistan for harbouring and protecting terrorists, and also blames Islamabad for having a “direct hand” in the deadly incident – accusations that Pakistan vehemently denies.