GR News Desk | New Delhi
A day after Pakistan captured Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan
“In our desire for peace, I announce that tomorrow, and as a first step to open negotiations, Pakistan will be releasing the Indian Air Force officer in our custody,” Dawn quoted Imran Khan as saying.
The Indian Air Force in a joint press conference with the Army and the Navy presented undeniable evidence that there was indeed a dogfight over the skies of J&K on February 27. The IAF in a statement said, “In the aerial combat that ensued one Pak F-16 of PAF was shot down by an IAF Mig 21 Bison. The IAF lost one MiG-21 and though the pilot ejected safely his parachute drifted into POJ&K where he was taken into custody by Pakistan Army.”
Addressing the media, Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor said, “One Pakistani F-16 was shot down by an IAF MiG 21 Bison Aircraft. East of Rajouri, parts of F-16 has been recovered, inside Indian territory. Also, IAF is happy that Wing Commander Abhinandan is returning tomorrow.”
Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor said that there is enough evidence to show that F-16s were used in this mission through their electronic signatures. “Parts of AMRAAM, air to air missile which is carried only on the Pakistani F-16s was recovered east of Rajouri within the Indian territory,” he added. Pakistan, however, had claimed that no F-16 was part of the operation–any such admission would violate US sale conditions of not letting Pakistan use F-16s in an offensive role, Indian Express reported.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been going on with his scheduled programs through the day chaired a high-level meeting of Cabinet Committee on Security at his residence, after the announcement of Wing Commander’s return by the neighbouring country.
“Aap toh laboratories me zindagi guzarne vale log hai aur apme pehle ‘pilot project’ karne ki parampara hoti hai. Pilot project karne ke baad scalability hoti hai. Abhi abhi ek pilot project pura ho gaya. Abhi real karna hai, pehle toh practice thi (You people spend your lives in laboratories. It is a custom to first make a ‘pilot project’. Scalability is done after that. Just now one pilot project has been completed. Now we have to make it real, earlier it was just practice),” Modi said following Pakistan’s announcement.
Meanwhile, the opposition has welcomed Pakistan’s decision to send back IAF officer after he was initially captured by Pakistan Army on Wednesday. According to reports, Wing Commander Abhinandan is likely to cross over to India from Pakistan through the Wagah Border in Punjab on Friday.