A missile shown in a picture by the government as having been fired by Pakistan using its F-16 fighter jets in attack this week actually belonged to Taiwan, according to Pakistani media reports.
But Taiwan’s Air Force has said that the identification numbers of missiles used by F-16 and ones owned by them did not match, according to persons familiar with Taiwan’s military establishment.
Last Thursday, the government showed a photo of the remains of a United States-made missile which could only have been fired from an F-16. The issue is sensitive because the U.S.-delivered jets can reportedly only be used against terrorists, not against other countries.
Pak English daily The Express Tribune reported the wreckage could have been part of a missile sold by the U.S. to Taiwan. The Express reporters apparently tracked the identification numbers of missile 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 Taiwan Air Force immediately did their checks and ascertained that the identification numbers reported by Pak daily did not match any of its missiles, and were not compatible with any weapons systems in its possession, according to one of the persons quoted above.
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 island’s Air Force said.
Taiwanese media have described the allegations as a case of “Taiwan getting hit by a bullet while lying down.”
Taiwan or Republic of China does not enjoy diplomatic ties with India. Both maintain cultural and commercial offices in respective countries and do not share any defence partnership. Taiwan is protected under US military umbrella.