India’s minister of state for external affairs V.K Singh said this weekend that India and Pakistan will never be friends:
“A country which has been triggering proxy wars against India besides being a terrorist hub can never be treated as a friend. Treating Pakistan as a friend will be the biggest weakness of India.”
India and Pakistan: months of nuclear tension
The statement comes after months of tension between the two nuclear neighbors. The military posturing reached a peak last week when India’s prime minister Narendra Modi threatened Pakistan with the “mother of nuclear bombs.”
India Threatens Pakistan With ‘Mother of Nuclear Bombs’; Where’s Trump? https://t.co/xltANy8kcy
— CCN.com (@CCNMarkets) April 18, 2019
The military aggression first flared in February when Pakistan-based terrorist group JeM killed 40 Indians. India responded with airstrikes over the border and a series of aggressive military action followed on both sides.
Pakistan’s F-16 fighter jet aggression: a violation of US terms?
The United States has also been dragged into the ongoing conflict between India and Pakistan, but the Trump administration remains firmly on the sidelines. The US has refused to comment on Pakistan’s possible violation of US terms.
In February 2019, Pakistan shot down an Indian jet and captured its pilot. India claims this aggressive action was carried out by a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet, sold to Islamabad by the United States.
If India’s claims are true, it may be a violation of international terms. According to the US arms agreement, Pakistan is only permitted to use the F-16 fighter jets defensively.
Pakistan brought all its F-16s to the Indian border & moved its terror camps out of Indian AF reach to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
Why isn’t the US reacting to the prohibited F-16 use & more Pakistani terrorists likely going to Afghanistan?https://t.co/QM1NsXwvKL
— Lawrence Sellin (@LawrenceSellin) March 20, 2019
Pakistan maintains it did not use the F-16 in the dogfight and, despite India’s claim that it shot down a Pakistani F-16 in the clash, a US count found that all jets were present and correct. India, however, submitted some evidence in the form of call-signs and weaponry used which are associated with Pakistani F-16s.
US stays on the sidelines
This weekend, the US refused to share any information with India about the possible violation of terms. Speaking to the Indian Express, an unnamed official said it was a matter solely for the US and Pakistan:
“Soon after we were informed by the Indian side about Pakistan using F-16 aircraft on Feb 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.”
The official said it was a strictly unbiased position and it would do the same if the tables were turned:
“If a third country tomorrow wants information about the C130 or C17 or Apaches that the IAF [Indian Air Force] uses, our answer would be the same. It is a bilateral matter between India and the US.”
Peace in the Indian sub-continent?
Pakistan is on a mission to dispel fears of conflict, but not everyone is convinced. The country invited a handful of journalists to learn about Islamabad’s desire for peace, summed up by this Reuters commentary:
“Pakistan says it is tired of conflict, opposed to extremism, open for peace talks and clamping down on corruption. It also insists it is run by politicians, with the military partnering rather than dominating.”
But with constant military posturing from both Pakistan and India, the peaceful rhetoric doesn’t quite match the nuclear grandstanding.
About The Author
Ben is a journalist with a decade of experience covering financial markets. His writing has appeared in The Huffington Post and he worked at Block Explorer, the world’s longest-running source of Blockchain data.