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False claims do not turn into truths-ISPR on Indian Claim

09 April, 2019

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ISLAMABAD: Rejecting India’s latest reiteration of its claim that it downed a Pakistani fighter jet in February, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) chief Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor on Monday said that false claims do not turn into truths no matter how many times they are repeated.

He said that India only made false claims and could not present to the world any proof to support those claims.

The director general of ISPR, the public affairs wing of the military, was responding to a news conference held by the Indian air chief earlier in the day in New Delhi, where Air Vice Marshal R.G.K Kapoor presented “irrefutable evidence” that they had downed a Pakistani fighter jet in February.

The ISPR director general in a statement said that Pakistan was tight lipped over the damage caused to India in February’s clash at the hands of Pakistani forces.

“Do not overlook our silence. We did not beat drums over the truth. The truth is this, Pakistan Air Force downed two Indian Jets,” the ISPR chief said, adding “everyone saw the wreckage [of the Indian jets]”, Maj Gen Ghafoor said.

It is worth mentioning that the US-based Foreign Policy magazine has also rejected the Indian claim of shooting down a Pakistani F-16.

“India’s claim that one of its fighter pilots shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet in an aerial battle between the two nuclear powers in February appears to be wrong,” read a report recently posted on the magazine’s website.

Following the Foreign Policy’s revelation, Prime Minister Imran Khan also rebuked the Indian leadership over its false claim of shooting down an F-16.

“The truth always prevails and is always the best policy,” the prime minister tweeted.

Pakistan believes that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted to win the elections through war hysteria and false claims of shooting down a Pakistani jet.

However, ignoring Pakistan’s rejection of the Indian claim as well as the American magazine’s report, the Indian Air Force on Monday made yet another claim, but could not produce any solid evidence to support its point.

According to AFP, India’s air force presented on Monday what it called “irrefutable evidence” that it had downed a Pakistan fighter jet in February during a dogfight over the skies in the disputed region of Kashmir.

India lost a Mig-21 Bison in the aerial skirmish and its pilot was captured by Pakistan and later returned, cooling one of the most serious military confrontations between the two countries in decades.

But India has since claimed that its pilot first fired on an F-16, sending the damaged jet crashing into Azad Kashmir — something Islamabad says never happened.

AVM Kapoor repeated this at the press conference in Delhi, reading out the “evidence” gathered by India and displaying radar images he claimed proved the Pakistan jet was struck and crashed.

“There is no doubt that two aircraft went down in the aerial engagement on 27 February 2019,” Kapoor said, reading from a prepared statement.

India’s air force “has irrefutable evidence of not only the fact that F-16 was used” on the day of the dogfight, but that it was shot down by the Indian jet, he added.

He claimed that further “credible information and evidence” backed this version of events but could not be released due to confidentiality concerns.

Foreign Policy magazine cited two unnamed senior US defence officials who said that US personnel recently conducted a count of Pakistan’s F-16s and found none missing. The magazine quoted one of the officials as saying that Pakistan had invited the US to physically count its F-16 fleet.

The dogfight happened after Indian aircraft carried out an airstrike on what it alleged was a “terrorist training camp” in Pakistan.

That in turn was in response to a suicide bombing on February 14 in India-held Kashmir that killed 40 Indian troops and which was claimed by a militant group based in Pakistan.

Doubt has also been cast over the success of India’s airstrike, which Amit Shah, president of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), claimed killed 250.

Pakistan denied that there was any damage or casualties.Independent reporting by multiple local and international outlets who visited the site also found no evidence of a terrorist training camp or of any infrastructure damage.

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