India has asked the United States if American personnel were present, as per its end-user conditions, at Pakistani bases from where F-16 fighters were deployed on February 26-27, when Islamabad decided to bomb Indian military installations after India struck a terror camp at Balakot.
Under end-user conditions agreed between the US and Pakistan, a detachment of American military personnel has to be present at each of the bases where the F-16s are stationed to oversee their actual usage and deployments.
ET has reliably gathered that while the US had not yet given a formal response, the information available with New Delhi is that the Pakistani military had asked all American personnel to leave the respective bases as they were preparing for forward deployment. The issue is still being pursued with the US, added sources.
The US, for its part, has told India that it’s still trying to ascertain the details and working on measures to ensure that such a situation doesn’t arise in the future.
Two U.S. officials had recently through a magazine had said that they counted the F-16 aircraft in Pakistan and found none missing. Indian government had claimed that it had shot down an F-16 during an aerial engagement with Pakistan on February 27. The officials’ comments were made to U.S. magazine Foreign Policy.
“A US count of Pakistan’s F-16 fleet has found that all the jets are present and accounted for, a direct contradiction to India’s claim that it shot down one of the fighter jets during a February clash,” Lara Seligman of the magazine reported.
The Indian Air Force on February 28 had 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.