After India Gives Proof Of Pak Misusing F-16s, US "Following Issue Closely"

After India Gives Proof Of Pak Misusing F-16s, US "Following Issue Closely"

After India Gives Proof Of Pak Misusing F-16s, US "Following Issue Closely" 

New Delhi: The US State Department's top official said that the United States is "very closely" following the reports that highlight how Pakistan misused US-made F-16 fighter jets against India in the recent aerial confrontation between the air forces of the two countries.

On Thursday, the Indian Air Force had displayed parts of an AMRAAM beyond visual range air-to-air missile, as an evidence to "conclusively" prove that Pakistan deployed US-manufactured F-16 fighter jets during an aerial raid targeting Indian military installations in Jammu and Kashmir, after India's "non-military" anti-terror operation in Pakistan's Balakot.

On the other hand, Pakistan has claimed that no F-16 fighter jets were used. The F-16 fighter jets were given to Pakistan by the US for the sole purpose of conducting anti-terror operations within Pakistan. According to the agreement signed between Islamabad and Washington, it has been made clear that Pakistan cannot use F-16 jets against any other country. The agreement also states that Pakistan needs prior permission from the United States to use certain weapons that come fitted in the aircraft.

The US has asked for detailed information from Pakistan on the potential misuse of American-made F-16 fighter jets by it against India in violation of the end-user agreement.

US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino told reporters at his biweekly news conference on Tuesday, "We've seen those reports and we're following that issue very closely." 

US State Department Deputy Spokesperson was responding to questions that Pakistan has blatantly violated the end-user agreement on F-16 fighter jets that it got from the United States.

"I can't confirm anything, but as a matter of policy, we don't publicly comment on the contents of bilateral agreements that we have in this regard involving US defence technologies nor the communications that we have with other countries about that."

"So, we're taking a look and we're going to continue to take a look. I'm going to leave it at that," Mr Palladino said.

The fighter pilot, with the help of an AMRAAM missiles can target an enemy aircraft beyond visual range, at any time and in all-weather conditions. They have an autonomous guidance capability, which allows the pilot to manoeuvre immediately after the missile's launch.

The ties between India and Pakistan degraded, after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed exploded over 60 kg of RDX near a CRPF bus. The attack claimed the life of around 40 CRPF Jawans in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district on February 14.

The India Air Force, then launched a "non-military, pre-emptive" counter-terror operation in Pakistan's Balakot on February 26. In reply, the Pakistan Air Force downed a MiG-21 fighter jet of the Indian Air Force, while losing an F-16 jet of their own. The MiG-21 pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, was detained by Pakistan and handed over to India on Friday.