US seeks information on potential misuse of F-16 by Pakistan

Pakistan on Wednesday categorically said that no F-16 fighter jets were used and denied that one of its planes had been downed by the Indian Air Force.

Published: 02nd March 2019 12:17 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd March 2019 09:32 AM   |  A+A-

Indian Air Force officials display a piece of an AMRAAM missile, from a Pakistani Air Force F-16 jet, during a press conference at South Block in New Delhi on Thursday.

Indian Air Force officials display a piece of an AMRAAM missile, from a Pakistani Air Force F-16 jet, during a press conference at South Block in New Delhi on Thursday. | Shekhar Yadav

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Two days after New Delhi presented evidence that Pakistan deployed American-made F-16 to target Indian military installations in Kashmir, US State Department said on Saturday that it will probe whether Islamabad violated the end-user agreement it had signed while buying the fighter jets.

On Thursday evening, the Indian Air Force had displayed parts of an AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, which only the F-16s can carry, to prove that Pakistan had indeed deployed the airplane over Indian airspace.

In light of this hard evidence, the US has sought more information from Pakistan on the potential misuse of F-16, reports said.

While the full details of the end-user agreement are not in public domain, it is learnt the US has put in a number of restrictions on Pakistan in the usage of F-16s.

ALSO READ: Pakistani F-16 pilot was mistaken to be an Indian, lynched by his own

“Due to non-disclosure agreements in foreign military sales contracts, we cannot discuss the specifics of end user-agreements contained within,” news agency PTI quoted US Defense Department spokesperson Lt Col Kone Faulkner as saying.

However, other reports said the end-user agreement bars Pakistan from deploying F-16s against India. In any case, Pakistan cannot deploy these fighter jets in another country without prior permission from the US.

Meanwhile, Pakistan continues to deny that its F-16 had been shot down during the dog-fight with Indian MiG 21s after violating Indian airspace on the morning of February 27.

Early on Saturday morning, senior Pakistani bureaucrat Danyal Gilani had to quickly delete a tweet which claimed that Lockheed Martin, the US aerospace major which makes the iconic F-16, was planning to sue India for claiming that its aircraft had been shot down, because  “All F-16s on Pakistani inventory are well counted.”

In a terse tweet, Lockheed Martin India said it has made no such comments.Later, Gilani acknowledged the statement was “wrongly attributed” to Lockheed Martin.“There are reports saying the Pakistani F16 pilot who ejected over PoK was beaten to death by locals who mistook him for an Indian,” said another source.

‘If only we had rafale’

“India is feeling the absence of Rafale. The entire country is saying in one voice today, that if we had Rafale, the results would have been different. The country has suffered a lot due to politics over Rafale,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

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