The Indian Air Force's Sukhoi-30MKIs and Mirage jets pushed backed a large-sized UAV and a package of four Pakistani F-16 jets flying close to the Indian border in Khemkaran sector in Punjab at 3 am on Monday. After the Indian response, the Pakistani jets retreated further into their territory, according to news agency ANI.
Sources: At 3 AM today, Indian radars detected a large sized UAV & package of 4 Pakistani F-16s flying close to Indian border in Khemkaran sector in Punjab. India scrambled Su-30MKIs & Mirage jets in response after which the Pakistani jets retreated further into their territory. pic.twitter.com/ZKTbw8zPZo— ANI (@ANI) April 1, 2019
This incident came days after the Indian Army on March 8 shot down an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), also known as drone, in Rajasthan's Sri Ganganagar sector around 7.30 pm. This was the fourth time Pakistani drone destroyed by India along the IB since February 26 air strike on Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Balakot inside Pakistani territory.
Few days earlier, a Pakistani drone was detected by a ground-based radar station in Rajasthan's Bikaner and minutes later one of the Sukhoi-30 jets deployed in the area to keep an eye on Indian air space shot it down. The Pakistani military drone was targeted at around 11:30 am in Bikaner-Nal sector in Rajasthan.
It was the second unsuccessful attempt by Pakistan to send a spy drone inside India in the last six days. On February 27, a day after the air strike, a Pakistani drone was shot down by India along the Indo-Pak border in Kutch district of Gujarat. The Indian Air Force has kept all its bases in the Western sector on maximum alert after the Balakot strike.
(Sukhoi-30. Representative image)
The Indian Air Force carried out pre-dawn airstrikes on February 26 and destroyed major launch pads of the terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed, which was behind the February 14 Pulwama terror attack. Several reports claimed that the ‘Surgical Strike 2.0’ decimated Jaish's Alpha 3 Control Rooms located in Balakot, Muzaffarabad and Chakothi in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
More than 10 bombs were dropped by the multi-role fighter jet Mirage 2000 at around 3:30 am on February 26 morning. Understandably, Pakistan has downplayed the airstrike. The aerial attack came a day after Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held a high-level meeting with all three service chiefs.
Following the strike, the Pakistani Air Force also entered the Indian air space and dropped bombs on military establishment in Kashmir. However, IAF planes scrambled the Pakistani jets and destroyed one of them. In the intense aerial battle, an Indian jet was also downed by Pakistani fighter planes.
Meanwhile, on Monday, the Pakistan Army rejected that Indian claims that a Pakistani F-16 was shot down in an air battle on February 27.
“Reference repeated Indian claims about shooting down of Pakistani F-16 by India and use of F16 in air battle on 27 February. The event of 27 Feb is part of history now. No Pakistani F16 was hit by Indian airforce,” said the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).
ISPR added that Pakistan Air Force (PAF) strikes across the Line of Control (LoC) were carried out by JF-17 from within Pakistan airspace.
“Later when 2 Indian jets crossed LOC they were shot down by PAF. Whether it was F16 or JF17 which shot down 2 Indian aircrafts is immaterial,” added the statement.
“Even if F-16 have been used as at that point in time complete PAF was airborne including F16s, the fact remains that Pakistan Airforce shot down two Indian jets in self-defence. India can assume any type of their choice even F-16."