Nuclear Standoff: Pakistan Scrambles Entire F-16 Jet Fighter Fleet to Indian Border in Possible US Terms Violation

Journalist:
Ben Brown
March 20, 2019

The threat of war rises in the Indian subcontinent as Pakistan and India line up weapons on the Line of Control, the disputed border in Kashmir.

Pakistan has reportedly scrambled “all F-16” fighter jets to the border and pointed them towards India. In response, the Indian Air Force has called for more air-to-air missiles to counter the threat.

The US is also involved here. The movement of F-16 fighter jets could be a violation of US terms. One former US colonel and Afghanistan veteran has called on the US to investigate Pakistan’s latest use of F-16 fighter jets. Will Trump finally intervene in the conflict?

The arms race at the border threatens to tip the two nuclear-armed nations over the edge. Tensions between India and Pakistan have reached fever pitch in recent months with deadly exchanges from both sides.

Fighter Jets Trained on India

According to Indian government sources, Pakistan has scrambled all F-16 fighter jets and positioned them at airbases along the disputed Line of Control.

“The F16s have been distributed all across Pakistani airbases and are still trained at us. They are continuing to undertake night flying and have their air defence network on alert.”

Pakistan has also carried out aerial operations on Pakistan highways. The country’s air space remains closed off to commercial flights as the military is on high alert.

India: Send More Missiles

As Pakistan lines up aircraft on the border, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has asked the government for more weaponry. The IAF has demanded air-to-air missiles to match the Pakistani threat. According to government officials:

“These missiles have a certain life. While stored in a canister, this is counted in terms of the age of the system in years but when fighters are operationally deployed, the life of the missile depends on the number of sorties being undertaken. So we need fresh replenishments.”

It comes after India commissioned 750,000 new assault rifles and leased a Russian nuclear submarine. The Indian Air Force is also engaged in aerial military action. The Economic Times reports that there is “hectic flying activity on both sides.”

It’s clear that India and Pakistan are both showcasing their military prowess in a dangerous display of force.

Nuclear Tensions Flare

Tensions between the nuclear-armed states flared this year when a suicide attack killed more than 40 Indians. Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed responsibility for the attack.

On February 26th, India countered with airstrikes over the Line of Control into Pakistan territory, reportedly hitting a JeM training camp. Days later, Pakistan shot down an Indian jet but returned the pilot to India.

A Violation of US Terms?

Pakistan’s use of F-16 fighter jets is further controversial as it may violate the terms of a US agreement. Washington sold the F-16s to Pakistan under strict terms of use, although the exact terms are confidential.

Pakistan denies using the F-16 to shoot down an Indian jet, but the US is now investigating.

As Pakistan moves all F-16s to the border, it raises further questions for the US government. It’s time for Trump to take a stance in this conflict and help ease tensions between the nuclear nations.

Last modified (UTC): March 20, 2019 08:09

Ben Brown

Ben is a journalist with a decade of experience covering financial markets. Based in London, UK, his writing has appeared in The Huffington Post and he was Chief Editor at Block Explorer, the world's longest-running source of Blockchain data. Reach him at benjamin-brown.uk or on Twitter at _Ben_Brown. Email ben @ benjamin-brown.uk.