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In Tri-Services Press Meet, India Debunks Pak Army's Lies, Say India's Military Structures Were Their Target

In a joint press conference on Thursday evening, representatives of Indian Air Force, Army and Navy said that Pakistan used F16 planes to target 'military installations' near the line of control.

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Updated:March 1, 2019, 8:08 AM IST
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In Tri-Services Press Meet, India Debunks Pak Army's Lies, Say India's Military Structures Were Their Target
Seen here are representatives of Indian Air Force, Army and Navy.
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New Delhi: India on Thursday debunked three of Pakistan’s claims, including the one of having not used F16 planes for aerial incursion on Wednesday morning. In a joint press conference, representative of the Indian Air Force, Army and Navy said that Pakistan used F16 planes to target “military installations” near the line of control.

“Pakistan air force attempted to target military establishments in Jammu and Kashmir. Specifically, they targeted a brigade headquarters, a battalion headquarters, forward defences and a logistics installation,” said Indian Army's Major General Surendra Singh Mahal.

Displaying the wreckage of the missile as a proof of Pakistani aggression, Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor said, “Pakistan also stated that no F-16s were used in the operation and no Pakistani plane was downed by the Indian Air Force. There is enough evidence to show that F-16s were used in this mission and Pakistan is trying to hide this fact.”

This was the first official briefing by the Indian defence establishments since the hostilities broke out between the two nuclear neighbours following the IAF air strikes earlier this week.

Senior defence officials had said that a Mig-21 Bison Aircraft scrambled to intercept the Pakistani planes was downed in the dogfight, with pilot Wing Commander Abinandan Varthaman ejecting successfully to land in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

Air Vice Marshal also took a jibe at Pakistan for changing its stand over the number of IAF aircrafts shot and pilots captured. “First blatant disinformation was that two IAF aircrafts were shot down by Pakistan and three pilots were downed. This figure was later revised to two IAF aircrafts and two pilots. The fact, however, is that Indian Army units had reported sighting two parachutes falling in Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJ&K), which were of two F-16 pilots show down by the IAF MiG-21 Bison,” he said.

Asked to comment on reports that IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was captured by Pakistan on Wednesday, will be handed back to India on Friday as a gesture of peace, the officials expressed cheer. "We are very happy that Abhinandan will be freed tomorrow and look forward to his return," said Air Vice Marshal Kapoor.

Varthaman's MiG 21 was shot and he bailed out after bringing down two Pakistani F-16 fighters during a dogfight to repel a Pakistani attack on Wednesday morning. He has been in Pakistan since then.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced in Parliament on Thursday that Varthaman would be released on Friday as a "peace gesture".

Tensions between the two countries escalated after Indian fighters bombed terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed's (JeM) biggest training camp near Balakot deep inside Pakistan on early Tuesday. It came 12 days after the JeM claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Kashmir, killing 40 soldiers.

Kapoor said it is up to the political leadership to decide when and how to release evidence of the success of Balakot strike. He was responding to a question on there being scepticism about whether IAF fighters had hit the intended targets.

Kapoor said there is credible information and evidence that "we hit the intended targets" and it is premature to assess the casualties and damage.
| Edited by: Divya Kapoor
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