Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement on Tuesday said that India’s act of conferring an award on Abhinandan, the Indian pilot who was captured in Pakistan after his Mig 21 Bison aircraft was shot down by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), was “fabrication and pure fantasy to appease the domestic audience and hide embarrassment.”
The statement said that Pakistan rejects the false Indian claim that Abhinanadan shot down a F-16 fighter jet of the PAF in February 2019.
The ministry further said, “International experts and U.S. officials have already confirmed that no Pakistani F-16 was shot down on the day, after taking stock of Pakistani F-16 aircraft”, adding that giving awards based on ‘imaginary feats’ was against military norms and that India had only made a ‘mockery’ of itself’ by doing so.
On Monday, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind had awarded India’s third-highest military honour, the Vie Chakra, to the Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot. The pilot was awarded the medal for ‘displaying exceptional air combat acumen’ while fighting the PAF)F-16 aircraft, reported the Hindustan Times.
On February 27, 2019, the PAF shot down two Indian aircraft inside the Pakistani airspace. One of the aircraft, carrying Abhinandan, fell inside Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJ&K). The pilot was captured by locals and was retrieved from their custody by Pakistan Army troops in the region. He was later returned to India as a goodwill gesture.