The United States is trying to ascertain if Pakistan used US-built F-16 fighter aircraft in its attempt to target military establishments in India recently.
The Indian Air Force lost one Mig 21 in aerial engagements, when a “large package” of Pakistan Air Force breached the Indian air space west of Rajouri in Sunderbani area on February 27.
“We are aware of these reports and are seeking more information,” Reuters quoted a US Embassy spokesperson as saying. “We take all allegations of misuse of defence articles very seriously,” the spokesperson added.
Pakistan bought several batches of F-16 planes, built by Lockheed Martin Corp, from Washington before relations soured and the United States cut off subsidised sales in 2016.
It is not clear what exactly these so-called “end-user agreements” restrict Pakistan from doing. “The U.S. Government does not comment on or confirm pending investigations of this nature,” the U.S. Embassy added.
On Thursday Indian officials displayed to reporters parts of what they called an air-to-air missile that can only be fired from F-16 jets, alleging they were used to bomb its side of the Rajouri on Wednesday.
India has asserted that there is enough evidence to show that multiple F-16 aircraft were used in the mission.
“Parts of AMRAAM Air to Air missile which is carried only on Pakistan F-16 were recovered from Indian territory in Rajouri. IAF remains vigilant, committed and ready to combat any eventuality,” Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor said in a media briefing on Thursday.
Visuals of the cover of AMRAAM missile fired from Pakistani F-16 aircraft that were found near the LoC in India were also displayed during the media briefing to strengthen India’s assertion.