Skip to content

The Unfinished Dogfight: The Downing of an F-16 by the IAF

Lt Gen Ghanshyam Singh Katoch, PVSM, AVSM,VSM (Retd) writes Pakistan while blaming India for the repetitions of lies are themselves indulging in the creation of perception through repetitions.

The Dawn on 27 Feb 2019 had carried a tweet by the DG ISPR:

“[The] PAF shot down two Indian aircraft inside Pakistani airspace. One of the aircraft fell inside AJ&K [Azad Jammu and Kashmir] while [the] other fell inside IOK [Indian occupied Kashmir]. One Indian pilot arrested by troops on ground while two in the area.”


The Dawn also reported that while addressing a press conference an hour after his tweet, Maj Gen Ghafoor, the DGISPR, said that another pilot has been arrested.

The exact words of the DG ISPR reported were, “Our ground forces arrested two pilots; one of them was injured and has been shifted to CMH [Combined Military Hospital] and, God-willing, he will be taken care of, “The other one is with us.”

Six hours and 19 minutes later, in a tweet, he said that only one pilot was in the custody of the Pakistan Army. A reduction from three enemy pilots to one was very strange and this is what is being questioned time an again by all analysts as they challenge the Pakistani narrative.



On Apr 09, 2019 the DGISPR carrying on the unfinished dogfight has stated that “(Indian) lies do not become truths by way of repetitions.” He was responding to the Indian proof by way of radar images that the F-16 was indeed shot down. Through this statement , the Pakistani are themselves indulging in the creation of perception through repetitions.

On 27 Feb 2019, Prime Minister Imran Khan was on national television soon after the ISPR tweet where he stated that two Indian pilots were detained after their MIGs were shot down. It is unlikely that the DGISPR would start tweeting, talking or reporting to his Prime Minister without verifying some facts. Especially the fact of one pilot being in Pak custody and the second in the military hospital.

It is more likely that in the fog of war situation, aggravated by the crash of an IAF Mi 17 helicopter at Badgam at around the same time—the two pilots of the PAF F-16 shot down by the IAF were reported as “Indian pilots” of whom one was reported as injured and admitted in the Combined Military Hospital.

There is certainly something to hide as it is strange that even a month after the event the ISPR and Pakistan media are still trying to justify that no F-16 was shot down. The roping in of the reputed Foreign Policy magazine into peddling a unverified claim must be being rued by Lara Seligman who herself has not yet defended her story on twitter or other social media.

In 1977 while on the Line of Control a living bunker in our battalion got burnt through an oil-fired heater (bukhari) accident. One radio set could not be retrieved and was burnt. The enterprising company commander managed to get a similar derelict radio set from a military junk dealer, got an identical registration number plate with the same number made from Ludhiana. This was affixed to the junked radio set and the radio was officially condemned stating that it had fallen down a cliff while on patrol.

The moral of this story is that if a lowly Company Commander could do this then it is not difficult for a country which fooled the mightiest and most technically advanced country in the world about the location of Osama bin Laden, to produce one or four seeker heads— reportedly of the downed IAF MIG 21— from the Pakistani equivalent of Ludhiana.

We Indians on the other hand know that the Indian media especially the TV media would have been crying hoarse in case a second Indian jet had been shot down and even more in case its pilot had been in a Pak hospital. We also know that in a political slugfest milieu there would be many in India trying to find holes in the Indian narrative.

Readers should come to his/her informed conclusion as per their narrative, shoot down the opponent and finish this dogfight.



807 Total Views 1 Views Today

One thought on “The Unfinished Dogfight: The Downing of an F-16 by the IAF

  1. Col Jasbir Singh says:

    Gen Katoch,
    You have reminded me of 1977 incidence where I had to do the running around to get the number plate made. Brig Sarin refused to pay air fare.
    Write up is beautifully drafted and technically sound. I do read your articles and appreciate your writing skill.
    Warm regards.
    Col Jasbir Singh,
    2 JAKRIF

Comments are closed.