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    Wikileaks: US Mainly Intended Nuclear Deterrence When Selling F-16s to Pakistan

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    Documents accessed by Wikileaks indicate that Washington agreed to sell F16 fighter jets to Pakistan so that in the eventuality of a conflict, Islamabad could fall back on conventional warfare and not resort to utilising its nuclear arsenal.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — Even as India continues to insist that Pakistan violated the F-16 purchase agreement with the US during the aerial clash with India on 27 February, a correspondence of Anne Patterson, the then-US ambassador in Islamabad's with the State Department in 2008, reads that F-16 aircraft, armed with AMRAAMS, were meant to essentially buy time to delay Pakistan considering their nuclear option in a conflict with India.

    Given India's overwhelming military superiority, this would only be a few days but would allow critical time to mediate and prevent nuclear conflict, according to WikiLeaks.

    READ MORE: Pakistan May NOT Have Violated F-16 Deal in Clash With India, US Media Says

    The cable betweenthe former US ambassador in Islamabad Anne Patterson and the State Department in Washington on 24 April 2008 clearly states that the deal, among other things, meant to assuage Pakistan's fears of an "existential threat it perceived from India."

    The 20-paragraph communique, disclosed by the Wikileaks, reads "an enhanced F-16 program also has deterrence value by giving Pakistan time and space to employ a conventional rather than nuclear reaction in the event of a future conflict with India."

    Going by the document, the US assessed that India enjoys an almost 2-1 advantage (736 to 370) over Pakistan in advanced multi-purpose fighters. 

    READ MORE: Pakistan Not Aware of Any Deal Barring Use of F-16 Jets Against India — Def Min

    "To overcome overwhelming Indian military superiority, Pakistan developed both its nuclear/missile program and its air power. F-16 aircraft, armed with AMRAAMS, essentially buy time to delay Pakistan considering the nuclear option in a conflict with India. Given India's overwhelming military superiority, this would only be a few days, but these days would allow critical time to mediate and prevent nuclear conflict," were the views of Anne Patterson, the then-US ambassador in Islamabad.

    Following the 27 February aerial clash, the Indian Air Force demonstrated parts of an AMRAAM missile which fell down inside Indian territory. Though Pakistan denied having used F-16s in the dogfight, India argued that Pakistan does not have any other fighters capable of firing an AMRAAM missile.

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    Tags:
    nuclear deterrence, conflict, arms, F-16, WikiLeaks, Indian Air Force, India, United States, Pakistan
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