Sputnik has discussed the India-Pakistan tensions with Dr Gopalan Balachandran, defence analyst and Consulting Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.
Sputnik: The US says it takes all allegations of misuse of fighter jets very seriously. What could be the implications for US-Pakistan relations now?
Gopalan Balachandran: The US passed a law in 2006 or 2007 which said only that the use of items supplied under FMF, Foreign Military Financing programme, can be used only to support counter-terrorism and counter intelligence. This served only in relation to FMF funding. Now, what happened was, this law, the US Congress says for some of the F-16s Pakistan cannot use FMF; Pakistan used its own resources for some of the F-16s for counter intelligence restriction and counter terrorism; and counter-intelligence restriction applies only to those articles which are given under FMF. Okay, all items from the US to Pakistan were given under FMF.
Gopalan Balachandran: The F-16 that was used was paid for by Pakistan out of its own funds and also the FMF. That’s the first question. If it was paid for out of its own funds, I’m not sure whether the restriction to use on counter intelligence and counter terrorism applies. As long as the ties are concerned, again we need to look at the agreement under which the programme sold supplies to Pakistan.
Sputnik: The controversy comes as Indians are expected to head to the polling station in April and May. How will the recent tensions affect the polls do you think?
Gopalan Balachandran: That is a big question. If you’d asked me the question a week earlier, after the Indians took the training camp out, I would have said it was without question a great spot for the Indian government. But the capture and downing of an Indian plane would have made some difference. The first is yet not clear. The first action was definitely a plus for the government.
Gopalan Balachandran: I don’t think that will happen. There is no question of any major conflagration between India and Pakistan. Pakistan would definitely handle some other terrorist operation in India; they will support somebody to do that; that they will definitely do. And India may respond; I don’t know what they will do. But they will all be one for one, there will not be any major increasing one by one on the escalation; that sort of escalation will not take place.
The views and opinions expressed by the contributor do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.