*WASHINGTON: The F-16 fighter jets deal between the United States and Pakistan clearly notes that the aircraft could be used by Islamabad as ‘deterrence’ in a future conflict with India , adding that it could also prevent a nuclear battle between the arch-rivals.*
Either important points were specifically cited in a message the then US ambassador in Islamabad Anne Patterson sent to the State Department on April 24, 2008.
“An enhanced F-16 programme 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 ,” she wrote.
The quote is extracted from a 20-paragraph proclamation that Ambassador Patterson sent to Washington in April 2008 and was disclosed by WikiLeaks.
The statement refers to the use of 500 AIM-120-C5 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs), which New Dehli claims that Pakistan Air Force used against the Indian Air Force in an aerial combat in last week of February.
US often imposes restrictions on how its exported military hardware can be used through so-called end-user agreements.
Elucidating the rationale behind the notion of averting a nuclear war in South Asia by the use of F-16s, she wrote, “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 .”
“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.”
Few days earlier, a CNN report said that Washington wanted to know if Pakistan used a US-built F-16 jet to shot down Indian warplane on Feb 27. As, the United States often imposes restrictions on how its exported military hardware can be used through so-called end-user agreements.