- Stamp on Pakistan missile shows AMRAAM
- These are missiles Pakistan had obtained from the US
- The missiles were used against Indian Air Force jets
Three service representatives of the nation gathered at the heart of Delhi today to spell out the armed forces' position on the escalation of tension with Pakistan and yesterday's dogfight with its Air Force. Pakistan, they said, had escalated matters by targetting military installations in response to the Indian Air Force strike on a terror camp.
The officers had come with evidence -- wreckage of missiles the Pakistani F-16s had used against the IAF jets that confronted them. The jagged, bent piece of metal, they said, was the casing of a missile that had gone wide and fell in the east of Rajouri.
The stamp on it showed it to be an AMRAAM (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile). These are missiles Pakistan had obtained from the US, on condition that they would be used against terrorists, sources said.
Instead, the missiles were used against Indian Air Force jets -- one had hit the MiG 21 Bison of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who had to eject and was captured by Pakistan.
"Pakistan made a wrong claim that they did not target installations with human presence," said Air Vice-Marshal RGK Kapoor. "Pakistan also claimed that F-16s were not used... There's enough evidence to rebut that. Pakistan has no other aircraft where AMRAM can be installed... We can easily say because of the electronic signature that F-16s were used," he added.
The service representatives underscored that the armed forces were ready to handle any "misadventure by Pakistan".
Asked about the possibility of de-escalation, Air Vice-Marshal Kapoor said, "Pakistan has targeted our military installations. They have escalated. If they provoke us any further, we are prepared for any exigencies".
Targeting of military or civilian installations is considered an act of war. So is military action which is a reprisal for even a grave provocation. Yesterday, the foreign ministry had underscored that the Indian air strike on the terror camp was "non-military and pre-emptive". There was intelligence that Jaish was planning further attacks in the country, the ministry had said.
Since India's pre-dawn air strikes at Balakot, Pakistan has made it clear that there would be a "response" for India's violation of its airspace. The response, it had also said, would come at a "time and place of its own choosing".