India registers protest over US sale of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan

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Published: August 1, 2019 7:01:26 PM

Responding to media queries, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Raveesh Kumar said that the matter has been taken up with US ambassador in New Delhi as well as the US State Department in Washington.

F-16 fighter jets, US military, Ministry of External Affairs, Raveesh Kumar, Pakistan Air Force, Maj Gen Asif GhafoorSignificantly, in the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fleet there is the F-16-C type 72 fighter aircraft, which were supplied by the US to be used against terrorists only. (Reuters photo)

India has expressed concern over the announcement of US military assistance to Pakistan and technical support for the F-16 fighter aircraft. Responding to media queries, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Raveesh Kumar said that the matter has been taken up with US ambassador in New Delhi as well as the US State Department in Washington.

He said that the US side has said that the proposed deal for F-16 fighter aircraft has not made any difference to Pakistan’s policy of holding US military aid.

Significantly, in the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fleet there is the F-16-C type 72 fighter aircraft, which were supplied by the US to be used against terrorists only.

Also read: Indian Army ups the ante! Calibre Escalation in response to Pakistan’s unprovoked ceasefire violations

However, it may be recalled that after the surgical strike of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Balakot, Pakistan, on 27 February, that the country had sent fighter jets in the Indian territory of Jammu and Kashmir, one of which was shot down by the IAF.

However, Pakistan did not accept that an F-16 was shot down by India and there was also no response from the US side on the issue of whether Pakistan has used the American fighter jets against India.

In April this year, Pakistan’s military spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor in a statement had for the first time indicated that F-16s might have been used to hit Indian fighter plans during aerial combat in February. In that statement, Ghafoor had stated that Islamabad retained the right to use “anything and everything” in its self-defense.

The Pentagon earlier this week had notified its decision to approve $125 million worth of technical and logistics support for Pakistani F-16 fighter jets. And it had stated that the proposed foreign military sale would provide “24/7 end-use monitoring” of the F-16s.

In 2016, New Delhi had expressed its disappointment at the decision of the Obama administration to notify the sales of F-16 aircraft to Pakistan. And had said that it did not agree with their rationale that such arms transfers are going to help combat terrorism. According to the official statement issued by the MEA, the US ambassador was summoned to convey India’s displeasure.

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