The US is seeking more information on the potential misuse of American-made F-16 fighter jets by Pakistan against India in violation of the end-user agreement, the State Department has said.
The Indian Air Force, on Thursday, displayed parts of an AMRAAM beyond visual range air-to-air missile as evidence to “conclusively” prove that Pakistan deployed US-manufactured F-16 fighter jets during an aerial raid targeting Indian military installations in Kashmir after India’s anti-terror operation in Balakot.
Pakistan on Wednesday categorically said that no F-16 fighter jets were used and denied that one of its planes had been downed by the Indian Air Force.
“We are aware of these reports and are seeking more information,” a State Department spokesperson told PTI when asked about the report that Pakistan has violated an end-user agreement with the United States in this week’s border clash with India.
“Due to non-disclosure agreements in Foreign Military Sales contracts, we cannot discuss the specifics of end user-agreements contained within,” Lt Col Kone Faulkner, a Defense Department spokesperson told PTI.
The United States, which is the largest seller of high-tech defence equipment globally, and has a strong end-user monitoring agreement, as a matter of practice takes all allegations of misuse of defense articles very seriously.
But before making any judgment or arriving at any conclusion, it needs to establish some facts on the ground, if there has been any violation by Pakistan to the F-16 end-user agreement it signed by the United States.
According to Pentagon’s Defense Security and Cooperation Agency (DSCA), F-16 jets were meant to be used to “enhance Pakistan’s ability to conduct counter-insurgency and counterterrorism operations”.
Publicly available documents reveal that US has imposed nearly a dozen restriction on Pakistan related to its use of F-16.
During a Congressional hearing on July 20, 2006, John Miller, the then Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, had told lawmakers that the United States has “very carefully considered” the potential risks of the diversion of US technology and equipment.”
While the exact details of the restrictions were discussed in a closed-door session, and thus remain classified, Miller then broadly outlined some of the restrictions, which he said were over a “dozen new and unprecedented elements” of the security plan for Pakistan.
Miller then told lawmakers that the security provisions also include semi-annual inventories of all F-16 aircraft equipment and munitions, including related technical data, and more frequent inventories for other systems.
“There is a two-man rule, so to speak, for access to this equipment and restricted areas, and F-16 flights outside of Pakistan or participation in exercises and operations with third nations must be approved in advance by the United States government,” the then top State Department official said, according to the transcripts of the hearing.