Pakistan to release 360 Indian prisoners as tensions ease

Pakistan calls for 'truth' from India on aerial dogfight

Citing two unnamed senior United States defense officials, Foreign Policy said that USA personnel recently conducted a count of Pakistan's F-16s and found none missing.

"A USA count of Pakistan's F-16 fleet has found that all the jets are present and accounted for, a direct contradiction to India's claim that it shot down one of the fighter jets during a February clash", Lara Seligman of the magazine reported on Thursday. The two sightings were at places separated by at least 8-10 kilometers. In a previous statement in early March, Kumar had said "there are eye-witness accounts and electronic evidence that Pakistan deployed F-16 aircraft and that one F-16 was shot down" by an Indian pilot.

IAF sources said radio communication of Pakistan Air Force, intercepted by it, confirmed that one of the F-16s that attacked India on February 27 did not return to its base.

U.S. defence department said it was "not aware" of any investigation that was conducted to ascertain if Pakistan had lost an F-16.

IAF sources also said it has conclusive "circumstantial evidence" including wireless intercepts, signals and graphic captures from airborne warning and control system (AWACS) and electronic signatures to conclude that the F-16 jet was shot down during the aerial combat.

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Although the report is not likely to sway Indian voters, Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT, said the way the events had unfolded might affect India's efforts to deter Pakistan in the future.

According to a report in Foreign Policy, a prominent American magazine, a United States count of the F-16 jets with Pakistan has found that none of them is "missing" and all the fighter planes were "present and accounted for". Electronic signatures that were gathered indicate that the PAF aircraft was an F-16.

The dogfight occurred a day after Indian jets crossed deep into Pakistan territory and allegedly destroyed the suspected training camp of an anti-India militant group. The count had now been completed and all aircraft "are present and accounted for", the official said. "No Pakistani F16 was hit by Indian airforce", a statement from Pakistan's military released Monday reads.

They said, Indian ground forces also sighted two parachutes coming down at Sabi Kot and Tandar following the aerial combat on February 27. He was captured by the Pakistani army and released days later in an effort to deescalate the crisis. If the USA report turns out to be true, it would be a further blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had said that India had taught Pakistan a lesson, ahead of elections next week.

In the next raids, "opposition parties raising these questions can be tied under the jets.so that they can look at the targets", thundered junior foreign minister V.K Singh.

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