Washington has declined to share any information with New Delhi with regards to the use of F-16 fighter jets by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) during a recent dogfight with the Indian Air Force (IAF), Indian media reported on Monday.
“Soon after we were informed by the Indian side about Pakistan using F-16 aircraft on February 27, we informed the Indians that we will not be sharing any information on the subject as it is a bilateral matter between the US and Pakistan,” a US official told The Indian Express.
“If a third country tomorrow wants information about the C130 or C17 or Apaches that the IAF uses, our answer would be the same. It is a bilateral matter between India and the US,” the official added.
India had claimed that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman had shot down a Pakistani F-16 during a between the two neighbouring countries before his own plane was downed by a Pakistani missile.
However, their claim was debunked by the US officials after Islamabad invited them to physically count the F-16 planes after the incident.
Foreign Policy said in a report that the US personnel found none of the F-16 missing.
Some of the aircraft were not immediately available for inspection due to the conflict, so it took US personnel several weeks to account for all of the jets, one of the officials said.
The count had now been completed and all aircraft “were present and accounted for”, the US official had said.