It was a JF-17 fighter rather than American F-16 fighter jets that has shot down an Indian fighter jet in Jammu and Kashmir last week across LOC, according to a CNN report after an American diplomat said the United States wanted to acknowledge if Islamabad had used a US-manufactured F-16 jet for an aerial clash with the Indian Air Force.
The CNN report released this weekend stated, “It may have been one of those jets that on Wednesday downed an Indian Air Force fighter plane, leading to the capture by Pakistan of an Indian pilot.”
The report has also noted the IAF fighter jet was MiG-21, a Soviet-designed aircraft, which has been serving since the 1960s. The MiG-21 “forms the backbone” of the Indian Air Force, which has about 200 of those in its inventory.
“And that illustrates a problem for India. While it has a massive military budget, a significant chunk of that goes toward maintenance of existing equipment, and salaries,” the report added.
The report also included quotes from Indian parliament committee recent enquiry, saying, “Modernisation gets a mere 14 per cent (of allocated funds), which is grossly inadequate.”
On Sunday, spokesperson for the US embassy in Islamabad told Reuters news agency that the US was “seeking information” over whether Pak used US-built F-16 jets to shot down the Indian jet, which may violate the F-16 sale agreements between Islamabad and Washington.
“We are aware of these reports and are seeking more information,” the US Embassy spokesperson said. “We take all allegations of misuse of defence articles very seriously.”
India has claimed AIM-120C-5 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile had been fired recently, showing F-16 Viper fighter jets were “at least involved” in the recent strikes in Jammu and Kashmir.
However, Pakistan had rejected this claim, stating that it had not used any F-16 jets.