Tuesday Nov 23, 2021
Pakistan on Tuesday has categorically rejected the baseless Indian claims that a Pakistani F-16 aircraft was shot down by an Indian pilot before he was captured by Pakistan in Azad Jammu and Kashmir in February 2019.
Per a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the citation of the award to the downed Indian pilot, Abhinandan Varthamanm, is a "classic case of Indian fabrications and pure fantasy to appease the domestic audience and hide embarrassment."
International experts and US officials have already confirmed that no Pakistani F-16 was shot down on the day after taking stock of Pakistani F-16 aircraft.
"India’s insistence on propagating a lie that has been thoroughly exposed is ludicrous and nonsensical," the statement said, adding that granting military honours for imaginary feats of gallantry is contrary to every norm of military conduct.
"By giving such an award, also as an afterthought, India has only made a mockery of itself," the statement said.
It is reminded that in a daring daylight action, two Indian aircraft were shot down by Pakistan Air Force on February 27, 2019. One of the Indian Mig-21 Bison aircraft fell down in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The pilot who ejected was captured by Pakistan and later released as a goodwill gesture. His return to India was the testimony of Pakistan’s desire for peace despite India’s hostility and ill-conceived aggressive action.
Another Indian aircraft SU 30 shot down by Pakistan Air Force fell on the other side of the Line of Control (LOC). On the same day, in panic, the Indian military shot down its own MI 17 helicopter near Srinagar which it initially denied but accepted later on. Indian Air Force was completely outplayed on the day.
"It is obvious that India’s farcical story has no credibility whatsoever before the international community," the statement further added.
"On its part, Pakistan stands as ready and resolute to thwart any hostile designs as it was in February 2019. India would do well to learn a lesson from its botched attempt to violate Pakistan’s sovereignty and refrain from any misadventure in future."
IAF pilot and Group Captain Abhinandan Varthaman, who was arrested in 2019 by Pakistani forces after his MiG 21 aircraft was shot down by Pakistan Air Force (PAF), was awarded the Vir Chakra, the third-highest Indian military honour during wartime Monday.
As per the Indian media, Abhinandan has been bestowed with the honour of "shooting down a Pakistani F-16 plane during the February 2019 dogfight".
The Vir Chakra award to Abhinandan was announced in August 2019 but was awarded today in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the country's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.