Washington privately warned Pakistan against usage of F-16 to combat India: Sources

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 12, 2019, 02.01 PM(IST)

File photo of four Pakistani F-16 fighter jets. Photograph:( AFP )

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A US media outlet has reported the State Department officially reprimanded Pakistan for moving the aircraft to airbases without Washington's consent.

During Balakot strike in February, Indian Air Force destroyed a terrorist training camp on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control.

The incident led to the shooting down of a Pakistani F-16 jet but Islamabad had rejected the charge, and the United States had been more-or-less tight lipped in public about the whole controversy.

However, details have emerged that Washington was indeed worried about Pakistan misusing the F-16 jets, and had even dispatched a letter back in August to the Pakistan Air Force chief warning against it.

The letter which was written by Andrea Thompson, the then Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control, confirmed that Pakistan had indeed moved its F-16s and other American missiles to forward positions. 

The act was a clear violation of the terms under which these jets had been sold to Pakistan.

The letter warned of the possibility of these weapons falling into the hands of malignant actors and endangering peace in the region. 

It is worth noting that this was the first time the United States had expressed concern over Pakistan misusing the F-16 jets and also that the letter came from a high-ranking official of the Trump Administration.

Thompson has been a military intelligence officer all her career. She first entered the trump administration as national security advisor to vice president mike pence.

Pakistan does not have discretionary powers to use the F-16s, they can only be deployed at two specific airbases and are only meant for use in counter-terror operations, never against foreign countries.

India had earlier presented evidence saying Pakistan had not only used F-16s against them, but also American 'AMRAAM' missiles.