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US keen to know if F-16 jets were used by Pak during Feb 27 misadventure
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US keen to know if F-16 jets were used by Pak during Feb 27 misadventure

New Delhi, Mar 4 : Fresh diplomatic and strategic woes seemed to be mounting on the Imran Khan-led dispensation as the United States is now keen to ‘confirm’ whether F-16 fighter jets were really used by Pakistan during their February 27 misadventure against India.

“We take all allegations of misuse of defence articles very seriously,” a spokesman of the US embassy in Pakistan has been quoted as saying in western media amid India providing ‘evidence’ about the same and Pakistan seemingly desperate to prove it otherwise.

“We are aware of these reports and are seeking more information,” the US official has been quoted with the remarks attributed to a popular western news agency. In Delhi, the ruling BJP sources say things are being closely followed as the developments have been going according to Government of India’s “wishes and fact”.

“Pakistan’s double speak and hesitation is palpable. They are denying using F-16. But are they specifying which other plane was used? The season of trouble seems to have started,” said a key government source on the condition of anonymity.

Pakistan on February 27 initially put up a brave face about its striking ability. “Today, Pakistan Air Force undertook strikes across the Line of Control,” the Pakistan foreign said on February 27 in one of its first statement after dogfight adding, “Sole purpose (of the strike) being to demonstrate our right, will and capability for self defence”.

But after Indian Air Force officials on Thursday displayed parts of what they called an air to air missile, Islamabad has come under pressure to deny as there are broad hints that such strikes by Pakistan against India was ‘abuse’ of F-16 and violation of the ‘end users’ code and trade agreements from the US manufacturers.

A senior BJP leader Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, meanwhile, lauded the manner the Modi government’s foreign policy engine room has handled the entire post Pulwama and post-February 26 air strike on JeM terror camp.

“This is a huge and remarkable success for India. As a student of international relations I can say that the Government of India’s achievement in making the world see its actions in proper perspective is remarkable,” Mr Sahasrabuddhe said.

The ruling dispensation in India is aware of the fact that Pakistan has brought several batches of F-16 planes, built by US-based Lockheed Martin Corp and thus all eyes are on whether Pakistan really violated the ‘end user’ clauses. UNI