Pakistan's false claim of shooting down India's Sukhoi-30 jet appears to be an attempt to cover up for loss of its own F-16 aircraft, the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Tuesday said in a statement, adding that all the Su-30 fighter jets engaged in the combat on February 27 had landed back safely. The IAF's statement comes amid Pakistan's claims that it had shot down a Su-30 jet during the fierce engagement between the air forces of the two countries along the Line of Control (LoC).
The air force in its first official statement said the defence system was on full alert in the morning of February 27 and, hence, the deployment of F-16 by PAF and multiple launches of the AMRAAM (advanced medium range air to air missile) were conclusively observed by the Indian side. The IAF had also scrambled additional aircraft in view of the build-up of PAF aircraft on their side of LoC.
As Pakistan aircraft were engaged effectively in a bid to attack India's ground targets, the IAF on its side had deployed Mirage-2000, Su-30 and MiG-21 Bison to tackle the adversary. Post that, the prompt and correct tactical action by Su-30 aircraft defeated the AMRAAM, forcing the PAF aircraft to be withdrawn in a hurry.
"Prompt and correct tactical action by Su-30 aircraft, in response to AMRAAM launch, defeated the missile. Parts of the missile fell in area East of Rajouri in Jammu and Kashmir, injuring a civilian on ground. Detailed report in this regard has already been released by IAF," the statement read.
"PAF aircraft were forced to withdraw in a hurry, which is also evident from large missed distances of the weapons dropped by them," it added.
Pakistan's retaliation came a day after India on February 26 struck several Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) training camps in Balakot in response to the cowardice JeM attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district on February 14. During the airstrikes, IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman was also captured by Pakistan. However, early in the month, the Pakistan government handed over Varthaman to the Indian authorities as "a gesture of peace" and the first step towards negotiation with India.