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We Don’t Comment on Bilateral Agreements: US on Pak Misusing F-16s

US wrote a letter to Pakistani Air Force Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan in August over the misuse of F16.

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The US State Department, on Thursday, 13 December said that it does not disclose details of any bilateral agreement that involves defence technologies or communication, reported news agency ANI.

The statement comes in connection to a recent US media report that claimed a top American diplomat had reprimanded chiefs of Pakistani air force for misusing US-supplied F-16 fighter jets.

“We do not publicly comment on the contents of bilateral agreements involving the United States defence technologies nor the communications we have about them,”
Morgan Ortagus, State Department Spokesperson, told ANI

Andrea Thompson, the then-undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, wrote a letter to Pakistani Air Force Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan in August over the matter, US News reported on Wednesday, 11 December.

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While the letter written did not directly mention the incidents in the immediate aftermath of the 26 February Balakot airstrikes, US News quoted a source as saying that the communication served as a direct response to America's concerns about the F-16 use over Kashmir in February.

"While we understand from you that these aircraft movements were done in support of national defense objectives, the US government considers the relocation of aircraft to non-US government authorised bases concerning and inconsistent with the F-16 Letter of Offer and Acceptance," Thompson said in his letter.

A suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group killed 40 CRPF personnel in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district on 14 February.

India launched a counter-terror operation against a JeM training camp in Balakot on 26 February. The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in an aerial combat and captured its pilot Wing Commander Abhinanadan Varthaman, who was later released.

The IAF had said that during the aerial engagement on 27 February, one of its MiG-21 Bison shot down a F-16.

The Indian Air Force on 28 February displayed pieces of the AMRAAM missile, fired by a Pakistani F-16, as evidence to "conclusively" prove that Pakistan deployed US-manufactured F-16 fighter jets during an aerial raid targeting Indian military installations in Kashmir.

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"Such actions could subject sensitive US-technologies to diversion to or access by third parties and could undermine our shared security platforms and infrastructures," warned Thompson, who has now left the government.

The State Department and the Embassy of Pakistan has refused to comment on the letter.

According to US News, in her letter, Thompson raised concerns about American access to the bases and the US-made equipment there.

Thompson said it had been four years since Office of Defense Representative of Pakistan – the office that carries out defense cooperation with partner countries – had been allowed to perform an assessment of the security vulnerabilities on the Pakistani bases, the news report said.

(With Inputs from ANI & PTI)

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