US refuses to share data on F-16s with India

Updated Apr 29 2019

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A 2009 photograph by the USAF showing an F-16D Block 52+ 'Fighting Falcon' undergoing testing in the US prior to delivery to the Pakistan Air Force. ─ Wikimedia Commons/File
A 2009 photograph by the USAF showing an F-16D Block 52+ 'Fighting Falcon' undergoing testing in the US prior to delivery to the Pakistan Air Force. ─ Wikimedia Commons/File

WASHINGTON: The United States government has declined to share with India information on the use of F-16 fighter jets by the Pakistan Air Force during a recent dogfight, the Indian media reported on Sunday.

“Soon after we were informed by the Indian side about Pakistan using F-16 aircraft on Feb 27, we informed the Indians that we will not be sharing any information on the subject as it is a bilateral matter between the US and Pakistan,” a US official told Indian Express.

The official said that India understood the US position, which was not India or Pakistan-specific. “If a third country tomorrow wants information about the C130 or C17 or Apaches that the IAF uses, our answer would be the same. It is a bilateral matter between India and the US,” the official added.

The subject is a bilateral matter between Washington and Islamabad, Indian newspaper quotes an American official as saying

The Indian Air Force had complained to the Pentagon in March that Pakistan had violated the end-user agreement on F-16 by using the jets for offensive against India. The IAF also displayed parts of an AMRAAM beyond visual range air-to-air missile to prove its claim that Pakistan deployed US-made F-16 fighter jets during the Feb 27 dogfight with its planes.

Pakistan had categorically denied the Indian claim, saying that no F-16 fighter jets were used. It also rejected another Indian claim that the IAF shot down a Pakistani F-16 jet as totally baseless.

Pakistan, however, brought down an Indian plane and also captured its pilot who was released on March 1 as a goodwill gesture telecast live on both Indian and Pakistani TV channels.

Foreign Policy, a US magazine, reported recently that a US count of the Pakistani F-16s determined that none of them were “missing” and all the fighter planes were “present and accounted for”. The report contradicted India’s claim that the IAF had shot down an F-16 jet in Azad Kashmir.

Read: ISPR releases 'proof' further contradicting Indian claim of shooting down F-16

Published in Dawn, April 29th, 2019