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Pakistani Military Says It's 'Immaterial' Whether F-16 Was Used in India Clash

© AP Photo / Anjum NaveedA Pakistani Air Force F-16 fighter jet flies during a military parade in Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, March 23, 2018
A Pakistani Air Force F-16 fighter jet flies during a military parade in Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, March 23, 2018 - Sputnik International
The militaries of the nuclear-armed neighbours have made competing claims regarding the 27 February dogfight over Kashmir in late February, with Islamabad stressing that it destroyed two Indian planes and New Delhi saying it destroyed an F-16.

The media wing of Pakistan's Armed Forces reiterated on Monday that it did not lose an F-16 during the 27 February dogfight with Indian warplanes, adding that Pakistani forces shot down two Indian jets.

"The event of 27 Feb is part of history now. No Pakistani F16 was hit by Indian Air Force. As regard PAF action for strikes across LOC [Line of Control] it was done by JF17 from within Pakistan airspace. Later when 2 Indian jets crossed LOC they were shot down by PAF," the Inter-Services Public Relations stated in a press release.

Furthermore, referencing India's repeated allegations that the use of F-16 fighters in the clash was illegal, the military suggested that "whether it was F16 or JF17 which shot down 2 Indian aircrafts is immaterial. Even if F-16s have been used as at that point in time complete PAF was airborne including F16s, the fact remains that Pakistan Air Force shot down two Indian jets in self defence. India can assume any type [of plane] of their choice even F-16. Pakistan retains the right to use anything and everything in its legitimate self defence."

An Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldier patrols along a fence at the India-Pakistan border in R.S Pora, southwest of Jammu, on October 3, 2016 - Sputnik International
One Civilian Injured as India, Pakistan Exchange Heavy Fire in Kashmir
Earlier, Pakistan categorically denied that F-16 fighter jets were used in the 27 February clash, while India promised to provide the US with more information about the potential misuse of the American-made fighter jets by Pakistan against India, in violation of the end-user agreement.

India claims one of its MiG-21 fighters and a Pakistani F-16 were shot down in the February skirmish. Pakistan maintains that it shot down two Indian jets, and did not lose any warplanes.

Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated last month, after Pakistan-based al-Qaeda* affiliated terrorists claimed responsibility for a car-bombing attack in Pulwama, Kashmir which killed some 40 Indian security personnel. The attack prompted India to launch airstrikes into Pakistani territory in Kashmir on 26 and 27 February, with the Pakistani Air Force scrambling fighters to repel the second day's attacks.

Since then, the two countries have accused one another of violating each other's sovereignty, holding provocative drills in sensitive border areas and engaging in back and forth fire using small arms and artillery along the Line of Control border.

*Outlawed in Russia and many other countries.

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