New Delhi (Sputnik) — Amid reports of Islamabad apparently violating its F-16 purchase agreement with Washington, Pakistani Defence Minister Pervez Khattak said that he was not aware whether any such provision exists in the fighter jet purchase agreement between Pakistan and US.
Opposition leaders, including former Senate chairman Mian Raza Rabbani, questioned the purpose of buying F-16 jets from the US if such a restriction exists.
"I will inform the House soon if such a deal exists," the minister replied to furious senators who sought clarification from the government as to whether any agreement exists with the US that bars Pakistan from using F-16 jets against India.
India has been insisting that the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) used F-16 warplanes in the recent dogfight against the IAF on 27 February, which it claims was a violation of Pakistan's purchase agreement with the US.remarked.
On Tuesday, the US State Department acknowledged that it was very closely following reports on the alleged misuse of F-16s in air clashes between the two nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours.
"We've seen those reports and we're following that issue very closely. I can't confirm anything, but as a matter of policy, we don't publicly comment on the contents of bilateral agreements that we have in this regard involving US defence technologies nor the communications that we have with other countries about that," Robert Palladino, deputy spokesperson of the US Department of State, said during a media briefing.
Even as Pakistan continued to insist that the fighter jets used in the aerial clash with India were not F-16s, the Indian Air Force on Tuesday revealed a detailed account about the dogfight, seeking to establish that it was indeed an F-16 which the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had deployed against its neighbour amid escalating tensions.