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India, Pakistan scramble jets after UAV sighting

In an indication of the continuing state of high alert, India and Pakistan scrambled fighter jets after a Pakistani Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) was detected close to the border early on Monday.

“Around 3 a.m. in the morning, Indian Army reported a Pakistani UAV near Khem Karan sector in Punjab based on which we scrambled two Su-30MKI jets. In response, Pakistan scrambled two F-16s,” a Defence official said. The situation was resolved as both sides backed off.

Separately, in an unusual statement, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) of Pakistan armed forces claimed that the air strikes on Indian military installations on February 27 were carried out by JF-17s of Pakistan Air Force and also claimed to have shot down two IAF fighter jets in the aerial engagement that followed.

Whether it was F-16 or JF-17 which shot down “two Indian aircrafts is immaterial,” the ISPR statement said, adding they were shot in self-defence. It also said all their fighters, including F-16s, were airborne at that time and “India can assume any type of their choice even F-16.”

“Pakistan retains the right to use anything and everything in self-defence,” the statement said.

IAF lost one MiG-21 in the aerial engagement and the Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was taken prisoner and later released by Pakistan.

India has constantly maintained that Pakistan had deployed F-16s and used U.S. Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) in violation of the terms of their use when supplied by the U.S.

Indian Army had recovered remains of an AMRAAM that misfired and the IAF has said that they possess electronic signatures of F-16s used in combat. India has also presented the proof to the U.S.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 10:28:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-pak-scramble-jets-after-uav-sighting/article26705078.ece

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