The recent finding of the United State refutes India’s claim of shooting down Pakistani fighter F-16 just next day after Balakot airstrike. India claimed on February 27, 2019, that its air force shot down an F-16 fighter jet during an aerial dogfight. It is a setback for India.
It is noteworthy that India launched a counter-terror operation against a JeM training camp in Balakot. The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in aerial combat and captured its pilot, who was handed over to India on March 1.
A U.S. count of the F-16s with Pakistan has found that none of them are missing and all the fighter planes were present. A prominent American magazine has claimed this. The count of the F-16 fighter planes in Pakistan has been completed, and all F-16 aircraft were present and accounted for, an unnamed defence official was quoted as saying by the magazine. On another hand, the Department of Defence did not immediately respond to a question on its count of F-16 fighter jets in Pakistan.
The Indian Air Force on February 28 displayed pieces of the AMRAAM missile, fired by a Pakistani F-16, as evidence to conclusively prove that Pakistan deployed US-manufactured F-16 fighter jets during an aerial raid targeting Indian military installations in Kashmir.
Pakistan had categorically said that no F-16 fighter jets were used and denied that one of its planes had been downed by the IAF. After this Pakistan invited the United States to physically count its F-16 planes as part of an end-user agreement signed when the foreign military sale was finalised.