WASHINGTON: The US government has reportedly declined India’s request to share information on the use of F-16 fighter jets by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) during a dogfight along the Line of Control (LoC) on February 27 when Indian Air Force (IAF) violated Pakistan’s airspace.
“Soon after we were informed by the Indian side about Pakistan using F-16 aircraft on February 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”, according to an American official who reported on the condition of anonymity.
New Delhi had claimed that Pakistan had scrambled a F-16 fighter jet in the dogfight.
According to the source, the US would come up with the same response if a third party were to ask for information about any military equipment deployed by India.“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 source continued by saying that India had failed to present any evidence to corroborate its accusations against Pakistan, and the only thing the US has seen was “what was presented in the Indian media”.
The Indian side has claimed that it had downed a PAF F-16 and displayed fragments of an AMRAAM medium-range missile that was recovered in the Indian-administered part of Kashmir, alleging that they had been launched by a US-made jet.
Pakistan, for its part, has strongly denied the allegations, insisting that it has not lost any aircraft.
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.