However, now that the USA personnel have completed the count, "all aircraft were present and accounted for", the official told the magazine. The US generally requires the receiving country to allow its officials to inspect the equipment regularly to ensure it is accounted for.
IAF's assertion comes in the wake of US-based Foreign Policy magazine's report that cited U.S. government officials saying that Pakistan's F-16 combat jets "have all been accounted for". Some of the aircraft were not immediately available for inspection due to the conflict, so it took several weeks to account for all the jets, the report quoted one of the unnamed officials as saying.
Another official said in the general area where Wg Cdr Varthaman was engaged in aerial combat, only F-16s were present.
There was no immediate official comment from India on the Foreign Policy report.
Images from AWACS shown by IAF sources show the call sign of the an aircraft identified as F-16 facing of the Mig-21 piloted by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman disappearing in a time frame of 8-10 seconds. "It looks increasingly like India failed to impose significant costs on Pakistan but lost a plane and a helicopter of its own in the process".
In his tweet, the DG ISPR said: "Allah be praised, truth always prevails".
The finding by the U.S. on the ground in Pakistan "directly contradicts" India's claim that its air force shot down an F-16 fighter jet during an aerial dogfight on February 27.
"India needs introspection, especially over atrocities in IOK [Indian-occupied Kashmir]".
Ghafoor again reiterated the official government policy that the "region needs peace, progress & prosperity".
The Indian's MiG was hit in the aerial engagement and it crashed in Pakistani territory. "The Pakistani aircraft was seen by ground forces falling from the sky on the Pakistan side". However in early March, a joint press conference was held by the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force where pieces of F-16 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs) were displayed before the media as the evidence that falsified Pakistani claims of not using F-16 fighters.
Pakistan Air Force's attempted a "reposte" on February 27 in an air raid that included F-16s, JF 17s and Mirage III/V and the aircraft were picked up by the IAF radars, the IAF stated. "Electronic signatures gathered by us indicate that the PAF aircraft was an F-16", the air force said.
India has separately asked the United States for its view on whether the use of the F-16s by Pakistan was a violation of the end-user agreement.
The report added that two USA defence officials with direct knowledge of the matter said U.S. personnel had done a count of Pakistan's F-16s and found none missing.
"As regards PAF (Pakistan Air Force) action for strikes across LOC (Line of Control in Kashmir) it was done by (Chinese made) JF17 from within Pakistan airspace", the Pakistani statement had said.
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.