Two weeks after
the Indian Air Force struck a Jaish-e-Mohammed camp in Pakistan and the subsequent dogfight between Indian and Pakistan fighters at the Line of Control, the US Department of Defense has said that the main focus of the United States government was to reduce tensions between the two neighbouring countries.
"We do urge both sides to continue to take steps to de-escalate the situation. Our focus is on de-escalating tensions because further military activity between India and Pakistan would only exacerbate the situation,” Pentagon spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Koné Faulkner, said in an e-mailed response to CNBC-TV18.
When asked if Pakistan had indeed used
F-16 fighter jets against India on February 27, the spokesperson said, “These are claims from one foreign nation against another. As a result, these questions need to be addressed to that nation”.
As part of the purchasing agreement, the US had reportedly barred Pakistan from using the F-16s against any third country and it was only allowed to operate in self-defence and for anti-terror missions.
The Indian Air Force on February 28 displayed parts of an AMRAAM missile as evidence to "conclusively" prove that Pakistan deployed US-manufactured F-16 fighter jets during an aerial raid targeting Indian military installations in Kashmir. It said Pakistan does not have any other fighters capable of firing an AMRAAM missile.
“There are eye-witness accounts and electronic evidence that Pakistan deployed F-16 aircraft and that one F-16 was shot down by Wing Commander Abhinandan. Evidence of the use of AMRAAM Missile, which can only be deployed on the F-16 with Pakistan, has also been shown to the media. Pakistan should explain why it continues to deny that its F-16 aircraft has been shot down”, the Ministry of External Affairs, in a statement, had said.
Pakistan has categorically said that no F-16 fighter jets were used in the aerial combat against India.
The Indian government had officially asked
the United States to examine whether the use of F-16s against India is a violation of the terms and conditions of sale between US and Pakistan but Pentagon has refused to confirm.
“Due to contractual non-disclosure agreements, we cannot talk about end-user agreements associated with foreign military equipment (FMS) sales”, the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson for the US Embassy also refused to comment on the F16 agreement with Pakistan and whether the US could take action against the country for violating the agreement.
“As a matter of policy, we do not publicly comment on the contents of bilateral agreements involving US defence technologies nor the communications we have about them”, the US Embassy spokesperson told CNBC-TV18.
Both the Pentagon and the US Embassy did not comment on whether an F16 belonging to the Pakistan Air Force was shot down by the India Air Force on February 27.
India has been in close communication with the United States ever since the attack on a National Security Advisor Ajit Doval spoke to his US counterpart John Bolton while Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj spoke to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after the
CRPF convoy in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir on February 14. Indian Air Force struck terror camps in Pakistan.