UPDATE: Air Force denies missile is owned by Taiwan
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - A missile shown in a picture by India as having been fired by Pakistan using its F-16 fighter jets in a surprise attack this week actually belonged to Taiwan, according to Pakistani media reports, but the island nation’s Air Force said the identification numbers did not match.
Pakistan shot down an Indian MiG-21 jet and captured its pilot and India took down a Pakistani military aircraft after India attacked militants in its traditional Muslim-dominated rival.
On Thursday, the Indian military showed a photo of the remains of a United States-made missile which it said could only have been fired from an F-16 fighter jet. The issue is sensitive because the U.S.-delivered jets can reportedly only be used against terrorists, not against other countries.
However, on Thursday, the Pakistani publication The Express Tribune reported the wreckage could have been part of a missile sold by the U.S. to Taiwan. The reporters tracked the identification numbers shown in the picture, AIM-120C-5 AMRAAM, to a U.S. Department of Defense list naming the missile as part of a US$2.38-million arms deal with Taiwan.
“How the wreckage of a missile sold to Taiwan ended up in the hands of an Indian military air vice marshal is something only New Delhi can explain,” The Express Tribune said.
The Air Force in Taipei said Friday afternoon that after checking the information, it had concluded that the identification numbers shown did not match any of its missiles, and were not compatible with any weapons systems in its possession, the Central News Agency reported.
In addition, the kind of weapons such as missiles supplied by the U.S. were for Taiwan’s own use and could not be sold on to other countries, the Air Force said.
Taiwanese media described the allegations Friday as a case of “Taiwan getting hit by a bullet while lying down.”