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F-16s to prevent Indo-Pak Nuclear war?
Published on 30 May. 2011 10:39 PM IST
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Contrary to India’s perception, Pakistan did not gain much from the buying F-16 fighter aircraft from United States, US diplomatic cables assessed by WikiLeaks suggest.
The deal, announced in 2005, aimed at allaying Pakistan’s fears of an “existential threat it perceived from India”, said an Indian daily citing the diplomatic cables from the US embassy in Islamabad.
According to the despatches, accessed by the daily through WikiLeaks, Washington decided to sell F-16s to Islamabad to turn Pakistan away from using “the nuclear option” and give it “time and space to employ a conventional reaction” in case of any issue with India.
However, the US knew that the F-16 programme would not alter India’s “overwhelming air superiority over Pakistan”.
Acknowledging India’s “substantial military advantage”, the US emphasised the F-16s would be “no match for India’s proposed purchase of F-18 or equivalent aircraft”.
The F-16s would give the US “a few days” to “mediate and prevent nuclear conflict” between the two neighbours.
The US sought Pakistan to ink the Letter of Acceptance (LoA) before inking the agreement in September 2006.
Albeit Pakistan had threatened to delay it, the US Ambassador to Islamabad, Ryan Crocker, suggested Washington to “convene” the Pakistani Ambassador, Ali Durrani, to tell him again that “missing the deadline [to sign the Letter of Acceptance] would have serious ramifications”.
“Do not think there is a better deal out there if this one expires,” Crocker suggested US to convey.

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