It added: “During combat, use of F-16 by PAF and multiple launches of AMRAAM were conclusively observed. Prompt and correct tactical action by Su-30 aircraft, in response to AMRAAM launch, defeated the missile. Parts of missile fell in area East of Rajouri in J&K."

Shedding more light on the dogfight that took place on February 27, the Indian Air Force said in a statement that the Mirage-2000, Su-30 and MiG-21 Bison were involved in the engagement.

The Pak Air Force aircraft were forced to withdraw in a hurry, as evident from the large missed distances of weapons dropped by them.

The statement read: “On 27 Feb 2019 morning, our Air Defence system was on full alert. Build up of PAF aircraft on their (Pakistan) side of LoC was noticed in time and additional aircraft were scrambled to tackle the adversary. In their attempt to attack our ground targets, PAF aircraft were engaged effectively. From IAF, Mirage-2000, Su-30 an MiG-21 Bison aircraft were involved in engagement. PAF aircraft were forced to withdraw in hurry, also evident from large missed distances of weapons dropped by them.”

It added: “During combat, use of F-16 by PAF and multiple launches of AMRAAM were conclusively observed. Prompt and correct tactical action by Su-30 aircraft, in response to AMRAAM launch, defeated the missile. Parts of missile fell in area East of Rajouri in J&K, injuring a civilian on ground. Detailed report in this regard has already been released by IAF. All the Su-30 aircraft engaged in combat landed back safely. False claim by Pakistan of shooting down a Su-30, appears to be a cover up for loss of its own aircraft.”

1. IAF's Proof

On Feb. 28, Indian defence officials displayed what they said were parts of an AMRAAM air-to-air missile that is carried only on the F-16s in the Pakistani air force.

India's foreign ministry said that there was a "violation of the Indian air space by Pakistan air force and targeting of Indian military posts".

Pakistan's military has denied it used F-16s in the attack on India and says it has not lost any of its aircraft.

2. IAF Doesn't Count Casualties

Sidestepping a raging debate on the number of casualties in the Balakot strike, IAF chief B S Dhanoa on Monday said it is for the government to provide details on the terrorists killed and the Air Force only sees if a target has been hit or not.

The Air Force doesn't count human casualties, Dhanoa said as the figure of how many terrorists were killed in the February 26 attack on a Jaish-e-Mohammed camp in Balakot in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province remained unclear. Government sources said up to 350 terrorists were killed, BJP president Amit Shah put the toll at 250, some media reports indicated the damage was minimal and opposition leaders clamoured for clarity. But there has been no official statement so far.

"We don't count human casualties. We count what targets we have hit or not hit," Dhanoa said in his first comments since the events of last week, when escalating India-Pakistan tensions led to aerial combat and Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman being in captivity in Pakistan for almost three days.

3. Abhinandan Will Be Back When Fit

The air chief told reporters the Indian Air Force pilot would fly a fighter jet if he was fit.

"We don't take chances with the medical fitness of a pilot," he said at a press conference.

Varthaman, who ejected from his MiG 21 Bison on February 27, was captured by Pakistan and released on March 1.

Discussing the Balakot strike, 12 days after the February 14 attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama in which 40 CRPF soldiers were killed, Dhanoa said the Air Force is not in a position to clarify how many people were inside.

The bomb damage assessment that is done post a mission only calculates the target that has been hit or not hit, the air chief noted.

"We can't count how many people have died. That depends on how many people were there," Dhanoa said, adding that a statement on the number of terrorists killed will be made by the government.

4. On Bombs Being Dropped

Asked about reports suggesting that the bombs were dropped away from the target, he said, "Our report says otherwise." Referring to Pakistan using F-16 aircraft in its offensive against India last week, Dhanoa said, "I don't know what is the end-user agreement between America and Pakistan. If the end-user agreement was that they will not use it for offensive purposes, then I think they have violated that end-user agreement." India, he said, has pieces of the AMRAAM missile which it displayed.

"Obviously, I think they have lost a F-16 aircraft in that combat. So, obviously, they have been using that aircraft against us," he added.

According to him, had the Indian Air Force dropped bombs in a jungle at Balakot there would have been no need for Pakistan to respond.

"The target has been clearly amplified by the foreign secretary in his statement. And, of course, if we plan to hit the target, we hit the target. Otherwise, why would he (Pakistan) have responded," he said.

The Rafale jet should come into India's inventory by September, the Air Force chief said.

"Yes, we have a plan for inducting new aircraft and that is why we have signed contract for 36 Rafale jets." Eventually, Jaguar, MiG-29, and Mirage-2000 aircraft will be replaced by Tejas Mk-2 and then the "next step" will be on Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft, he said.

5. US Seeks Evidence

The United States is trying to ascertain if Pakistan used US-built F-16 fighter aircraft in its attempt to target military establishments in India recently.

The Indian Air Force lost one MiG-21 in aerial engagements, when a "large package" of Pakistan Air Force breached the Indian air space west of Rajouri in Sunderbani area on February 27.

“We are aware of these reports and are seeking more information,” Reuters quoted a US Embassy spokesperson as saying. “We take all allegations of misuse of defence articles very seriously,” the spokesperson added.

India has asserted that there is enough evidence to show that multiple F-16 aircraft were used in the mission.

“Parts of AMRAAM Air to Air missile which is carried only on Pakistan F-16 were recovered from Indian territory in Rajouri. IAF remains vigilant, committed and ready to combat any eventuality,” Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor said in a media briefing on Thursday.

Visuals of the cover of AMRAAM missile fired from Pakistani F-16 aircraft that were found near the LoC in India were also displayed during the media briefing to strengthen India's assertion.

6. MiG-21 Vs F-16

MiG-21 is one of the most widely used fighter aircraft of the IAF. This single engine, single seater multi-role fighter aircraft of Russian origin forms the backbone of the IAF. MiG-21 BISON is a multi-role, all-weather air defence aircraft which can hit a maximum speed of 2,230 kilometres per hour (Mach 2.1). It carries one 23 mm twin-barrel cannon with four R-60 close combat missiles.

On the other hand, the F-16 which is also called Fighting Falcon or Viper is famous for its agility and these fighter jets were first inducted in Pakistan Air Force in early 80s. Pakistan Air Force uses the F-16C/D variants of F 16, which is a multi-role combat aircraft.

The MiG-21 aircraft comes equipped with modern Radar and Avionics systems and carries a mix of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons. In 1962, an agreement was signed by the Indian government with the Soviet Union to buy the MiG-21 and deliveries began the next year. Bangalore-based Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) started making the first MiG-21 in 1967 after receiving the licence from the Soviet Union. 

Available in both single-seat and double seat configuration, the F-16 Falcon is a single-engine aircraft. The fighter jet can pull 9-g manoeuvres, reaching a maximum speed over Mach 2. It has maximum high speed of 2120 kmph, a length of 15.06 metre and a wingspan of 9.96 metre. Weighing 8570 kg (dry), the F 16 jet has a maximum takeoff weight of 19200 kg. Powered by a General Electric F110-GE-129 engine, this fighter jet has a dry thrust of 17,155 lbf (76.3 kN) and Thrust with afterburner of 28,600 lbf (127 kN).

Though the MiG-21 is not a very large aircraft but it can fly at a very high speed which allows it to sneak up to enemy planes from low altitude. The presence of a delta wing, just like Mirage 2000, makes the MiG 21 highly manoeuvrable in dogfights. MiG 21 is a single seater plane with a length of 14.7 m (48 ft 2 in) and wingspan of 7.154 m (23 ft 6 in). The empty weight of MiG 21 is 5,846 kg (12,880 lb) and its loaded weight is 8,725 kg (19,230 lb) with 2 × K-13A missiles. The maximum takeoff weight of this fighter jet is 9,800 kg (21,600 lb). Powered by a 1 × Tumansky R-25-300 afterburning turbojet, the dry thrust of MiG 21 is 40.21 kN (9,040 lbf) and the thrust with afterburner is 69.62 kN; 97.1 kN WEP (15,650 lbf; 21,825 lbf WEP).

The MiG 21 is loaded with one internal 23 mm Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-23L auto-cannon with 200 rounds. It can carry air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles, KAB-500KR TV-guided bombs and 4 × 500 kg (1,100 lb) bombs.

The F-16 can carry rockets, air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles and air-to-ship missiles along with a wide variety of bombs. Like Mirage 2000, ti also comes equipped with a radar on-board.