During his meetings with top US administration officials in Washington this week, foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale will raise the issue of misuse of F-16 fighter jets and Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (Amraam) against India.
India has shared proof that the US supplied equipment, a large part of which was provided using funds under the war on terror initiative, was used when the Pakistani air force conducted a cross-border raid and targeted Indian fighter jets that had gone to counter them.
Gokhale, who is expected to meet several top administration officials during a scheduled visit this week, is likely to emphasise the Indian point that US taxpayers’ money was used to subsidise weapons that Pakistan had promised to use against the war on terror.
As part of a larger deal cleared in 2008, the US had provided at least 500 of the AIM120 Amraams that were used by Pakistani Air Force F-16 jets on the morning of February 27 in a ‘first strike’ attack on Indian Air Force Su 30 MKIs, Mirage2000 and MiG21 Bisons jets that were operating within Indian territory The Amraam was fired at least four times by Pakistani jets that targeted an Indian air patrol, which had gone to counter an intrusion over the Nowshera sector. While most of the missiles were dodged by the Indian Su30 MKIs, at least one is believed to have hit the MiG21Bison piloted by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who ejected from his fighter across the Line of Control (LoC).
As reported by ET, this offensive use of the US-supplied Amraam violated the rules of engagement on the LoC as they were used in first strike mode by the Pakistani side, giving its jets a temporary advantage with the defending force of Indian fighters that had to take immediate evasive action.
The surprise first strike took them temporarily off target as emergency countermeasures had to be applied. In the subsequent minutes as the Indian jets moved back into position, the offensive F-16 package retreated deep into its territory.
Detailed evidences,including missile parts recovered by Indian forces that had clear serial numbers visible, have been shared with Washington that promised the Indian side government all support to ensure that Pakistan complies to its commitments with the US.
In 2008, objections had been shared with the US that the F16s would be misused against India and that they were not meant for anti-terror operations, as was claimed by Pakistan while it had requested a $890-million funding deal to upgrade 46 F-16 A/B fighters to a new generation Block 52 F-16 fighters.