Pakistan on Monday for the first time indicated that F-16s might have been used to hit Indian fighter jets during the aerial combat on February 27 and said Islamabad retains the right to use 'anything and everything' in its self defence.
Pakistan's military spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor issued a statement with reference to what he said 'repeated Indian claims' about shooting down of Pakistani F-16 by India and use of F-16 in the air battle on February 27.
The Indian Air Force on Monday scrambled two Sukhoi-30 fighter jets after sighting a Pakistani drone along the Indo-Pak border in the Khemkaran sector in Punjab, official sources said.
Two Pakistani F-16 fighter aircraft were also seen close to the border after the incident.
The sources said the Sukhoi-30 MKI jets were deployed soon after the Pakistani unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was seen hovering over the border.
The drone soon retreated to the Pakistani side after the jets were scrambled. The incident took place around 3:10 pm.
There have been a series of incidents of Pakistani drones coming close to the Indo-Pak border in various areas in the last four weeks following the Balakot air strikes.
Last month, a UAV which intruded into Rajasthan's Ganganagar was shot down by the Army.
Also last month, a Sukhoi-30 fighter jet of the Indian Air Force shot down a Pakistani military drone in Bikaner sector of the Indo-Pak border using an air-to-air missile.
"As regard Pakistan Air Force (PAF) action for strikes across Line of Control, it was done by JF-17 from within Pakistan airspace," he said.
Later, when two Indian jets crossed the Line of Control, they were shot down by the PAF, he claimed.
"Whether it was F-16 or JF-17 which shot down 2 Indian aircraft is immaterial," he said.
He further said: "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."
Ghafoor said that Pakistan had right to use anything for its defence.
"India can assume any type of their choice even F-16. Pakistan retains the right to use anything and everything in its legitimate self defence," he said.
He also rejected that any F-16 was destroyed by Indian Air Force in the dogfight.
"The event of February 27 is part of history now. No Pakistani F-16 was hit by Indian Airforce," he said.
Last month, Ghafoor said that only JF-17 was used against India on February 27.
As part of the purchasing agreement, the United States had reportedly barred Pakistan from using the F-16s against any third country and it was only allowed to operate the fighter in self defence and for anti-terror missions.
India has also given proof to America about the use of US-manufactured F-16 jets and AMRAAM beyond visual range air-to-air missile by Pakistan during its aerial raid.
The IAF on February 28 displayed parts of an AMRAAM missile as evidence to 'conclusively' prove that Pakistan deployed F-16s during the aerial raid targeting Indian military installations in Kashmir.
It said Pakistan does not have any other fighters capable of firing an AMRAAM missile.