A CNN report has now stated that Pakistan may have used Chinese-designed JF-17 in aerial combat with Indian Air Force last week that downed a Soviet-era MiG-21, leading to the capture of an Indian pilot.
India claimed that it shot down an F-16 fighter jet, which New Delhi said crashed inside Azad Kashmir, and used pictures of MiG-21 released by Pakistan to justify its claims.
Islamabad, on the other hand, rejected the claims that it lost any aircraft.
On the contrary, the United States is seeking information on whether Pakistan used US-built jets against India, which may violate the F-16 sale agreements between Washington and Pakistan.
“We are aware of these reports and are seeking more information,” a US Embassy spokesperson told a foreign news agency. “We take all allegations of misuse of defence articles very seriously.”
Nishank Motwani, a visiting fellow at the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy with expertise on India and Pakistan, told CNN that China plays a vital role in sub-continent military buildup.
The report added that while India lacks military industrial base, Pakistan is making its own JF-17 fighter jets with Chinese assistance.
Motwani said Indian pilots call the MiG-21 “the flying coffin” for the accidents it has been involved in. It has been in service since the 1960s, and the Indian Air Force still says it “forms the backbone” of its fleet with about 200 in inventory.
Another report in Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post suggests that JF-17 was used in the combat.
The report stated that within hours after the tweet of a former PAF officer that JF-17 shot down two Indian aircraft, the shares in Shenzhen-listed Sichuan Chengfei Integration Technology, a sister company of JF-17 maker Chengdu Aircraft Corporation, rose 10 per cent.