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Very closely following reports of Pakistan using F-16s against India: United States

By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 06, Mar 2019, 10:46 am IST | UPDATED: 06, Mar 2019, 10:46 am IST

Very closely following reports of Pakistan using F-16s against India: United States

Delhi: The US is "closely following" reports on alleged use of American-made F-16 fighter jets by Pakistan against India, the State Department has said.

During a press conference in Washington, deputy spokesperson of US department of state, Robert Palladino, said the US government has seen the reports and added that they were following the issue "very closely".

"I can't confirm anything, but as a matter of policy, we don't publicly comment on the contents of bilateral agreements that we have in this regard involving US defense technologies nor the communications that we have with other countries about that," Robert said.
 
The Indian Air Force has maintained that Pakistan used F-16 fighter jets. India has also displayed parts of an AMRAAM beyond visual range air-to-air missile as evidence to "conclusively" prove that Pakistan deployed US-manufactured F-16 fighter jets during an aerial raid targeting Indian military installations in Kashmir after India's anti-terror operation in Balakot.

Pakistan, however, has said no F-16 fighter jets were used and denied that one of its planes had been downed by the Indian Air Force.

URGE INDIA, PAK TO HOLD DIRECT TALKS: US

Addressing the press conference, Robert Palladino said the United States has urged India and Pakistan to de-escalate the situation.

"Our position is that we continue to urge both sides to continue to take steps to de-escalate the situation, and that includes through direct communication," Robert said.

He reiterated that the US also wants Pakistan to abide by its United Nations Security Council commitments to "deny terrorists sanctuary and to block their access to funds".

On being asked if government officials are still in touch in their effort to calm the situation, the deputy spokesperson said high-level contact has continued.

"That's with both governments via our embassies in New Delhi and Islamabad, as well as with the Indian and Pakistani embassies here in Washington. That has been sustained, that's been ongoing, and - sometimes we do public diplomacy and sometimes there's a time for private diplomacy, and there's a lot of private diplomacy that's going on right now," Robert said.

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