Home Global Village Can Pakistan use F-16 to counter India?

Can Pakistan use F-16 to counter India?

Pakistan now has JF-17 in its Air Force but loses to F-16 in number. India, on the other hand, is acquiring the latest cutting edge technology from Washington and Moscow. Can Pakistan defend itself with F-16's when the world has moved to F-21 and F-22's?

F-16

News Analysis |

It has been now clarified that the deal between the United States of America and Pakistan regarding F-16 allows the later to use warplane against Indian aggression. The USA acknowledged the aircraft’s “deterrence value” to Pakistan in a future conflict with India and also assumed that it could prevent a nuclear clash between the two arch-rivals in South Asia. Clarification is deemed very important in Pakistan where opposition and some analysts had expressed severe reservations over media reports, claiming Pakistan cannot use F-16 against India.

According to local media reports the ‘reality’ came on the surface while looking at a 20-paragraph communique that Ambassador Anne W. Patterson sent to Washington in April 2008 and was disclosed by WikiLeaks. In 2008, American ambassador urged the policymakers in Washington to provide Pakistan F-16 to maintain the balance of power in the region.

A hot debate erupted after it was claimed that Pakistan used F-16 jets to shoot down two Indian jets near the Line of Control (LoC). It was also believed that Pakistan had breached the deal’s conditions while using F-16 against India.

As a matter of fact, India is nine times bigger economy than Pakistan. Therefore, an unbridgeable difference persists between the two nuclear states when it comes to the possession of convention weapons. American Ambassador realized the same and stated that “to overcome overwhelming Indian military superiority, Pakistan developed both, its nuclear/missile programme 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.” she wrote.

“Given India’s overwhelming military superiority, this would only be a few days, but these days would allow critical time to meditate and prevent nuclear conflict,” she added. It is now clear that the F-16 were essentially given to Pakistan to primarily counter Indian air superiority in the region.

Read more: Pakistan Vs India: Whose Air Force is more efficient?

A hot debate erupted after it was claimed that Pakistan used F-16 jets to shoot down two Indian jets near the Line of Control (LoC). It was also believed that Pakistan had breached the deal’s conditions while using F-16 against India. The matter became worrisome for many Pakistanis when the State department’s spokesperson stated that America was ‘seriously’ looking into the conditions of the deal. Although spokesperson of Pakistan Army Major General Asif Ghafoor clarified that Pakistan did not use F-16 but JF-17 against India yet rumors continued to dominate political debates in the country.

It is worth noting that the former vice chief of the air staff Air Marshal Shahid Latif, who had signed the agreement of latest 18 F-16 Block-52 purchased by Pakistan from Washington in 2008, also categorically said that no India-specific condition was attached in this defense deal.

It is widely held opinion in Pakistan and across the world that Indian current Prime Minister Narendra Modi is using the anti-Pakistan card to win the upcoming general elections.

Pakistan had shot down two India jets when they violated Pakistani airspace. The situation between Pakistan and India became increasingly uncertain leading to political deadlock after the Pulwama attack in India Occupied Kashmir.

It is widely held opinion in Pakistan and across the world that Indian current Prime Minister Narendra Modi is using the anti-Pakistan card to win the upcoming general elections. But India armed forces had to face international humiliation after they got destroyed their two jets and one of their pilots was arrested but later on released by Pakistan as a goodwill gesture.

Read more: Pakistan shoots down two Indian Aircraft: DG ISPR

In fact, India too claimed that Pakistan had violated the rules of defense deal with the US as it used F-16 against India. During a press release, even wreckage was produced by India to claim that it had shot down Pakistan’s F-16 that entered into Indian airspace; a claim that has been rejected not only by Pakistan but also the international community.

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