The United States has refused to share with India information about Pakistan’s F-16 aircraft as “it is a bilateral matter” between the two countries, according to a US official.
“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,” the US official was quoted as saying by The Sunday Express newspaper.
The US refusal has deepened the mystery whether Pakistani F-16s were involved in the dogfight with Indian MiG-21 aircraft on February 27. While India says the use of the F-16 violates US sale conditions, Pakistan says its F-16 was not the one that shot down the Indian Air Force’s MiG-21.
Stressing that significance of the bilateral issue, the official told the newspaper, if a third country tomorrow wants information about the C130 or C17 or Apaches that the Indian air force (IAF) uses, the US official said “our answer would be the same”. “It is a bilateral matter between India and the US.”
The report further quoted the US official as saying that New Delhi has so far neither presented any evidence nor asked for any inputs about the “shooting down” of an F-16 by the IAF on February 27. He [the US official] said the only evidence he has seen was “what was presented in the Indian media,” it added.
India presented parts showing the cover and serial number markings of a fired AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air To Air Missile (AMRAAM) which can only be fired from an F-16 aircraft. But no AWACS pictures or radar images were shared with the US, the official further said.
Pakistan’s military spokesman, DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor, had previously asserted that all of the Pakistan’s air force including the F-16s was on alert on February 27 and that his country has the right to deploy any asset it wished to meet a specific threat. Following Indian claims that one Pak F-16 had been downed in the dogfight, Islamabad said it had invited the US to take an inventory of the F-16 jets and that they found all such aircraft had been accounted for.