Hyderabad: Social media users are sharing the photo of a Dassault Mirage 2000 fighter jet with four trees and a crow painted on its side. The Indian Air Force is allegedly mocking Pakistan's claim that only "four trees and one crow" were the casualties in the Balakot air strike that took place in February 2019.
A Twitter user shared the photo and wrote, "Admire the IAF sense of humour. They are trolling the Pakis for admitting that only 4 trees and one crow were the casualties in the Balakot Strike! (sic)". (archived tweet)
The claim that the Indian Air Force painted four trees and a crow on a fighter jet to mock the Pakistani Air Force is FALSE.
The phrase "four trees and one crow" refers to a statement made by a local who was commenting on the 2019 Balakot air strike. "No one died. Only some pine trees died, they were cut down. A crow also died," the local told Reuters. The Pakistani Air Force was trolled and mocked following this report.
NewsMeter performed a reverse image search and found that a website, zone5aviation.com, had uploaded a similar photo and identified the aircraft as Dassault Mirage 2000H/TH. (image 9)
The image uploaded on the website had the same background as that of the viral image. However, it did not have the painted signs and neither was there any text on the aircraft.
The description read, "In late 2012, I spent a few days at Maharajpur Air Force Station in Gwalior, where Squadrons No 1, 7, & 9 flying Dassault Mirage 2000H/TH combat aircraft are based. The Mirage 2000 is probably the prettiest aircraft in the subcontinent, and I was ecstatic to be able to spend time with the magnificent beasts at close quarters."
The image was morphed and passed off with false claims that the Indian Air Force had painted four trees and a crow on the jet to mock the Pakistani Air Force. Hence, the claim is FALSE.