NEW DELHI --- The United States had assured India that Pakistan won’t use F16s and Amraams (advanced medium range air-to-air missiles) for offensive purposes as the US had an effective end-user monitoring process and the systems could be made ineffective if they were misused.
The assurances were made in 2015 when then defence minister Manohar Parrikar strongly raised the issue of supply of Amraams and fighter jets to Pakistan with his US counterpart Ashton Carter, top government sources told ET.
India had lobbied hard against the sale of eight additional advanced versions of F16s to Pakistan and had succeeded in blocking the sale after the US senate voted against subsidising the procurement using taxpayer’s money.
The sources have told ET that the offensive use of F16s on February 27 when the Pakistani air force attempted to strike military targets in Nowshera has been raised strongly with Washington, in the light of assurances given in 2015. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Economic Times website.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: It stands to reason that, with the arrival of new enabling technologies such as satellite communications and digital electronics, arms-exporting countries should take precautions to ensure that the weapons they export are not turned against themselves at some point.
If the above story is true – and it certainly sounds like it -– the US is willing to sell weapons to foreign clients while adding the capability to remotely disable them, which means it is Washington which decides when, where and how those weapons can be used.
This is a dangerous infringement of the buyer country’s national sovereignty, as well as posing a surreptitious operational threat to its national defense capabilities.
Countries now operating US-supplied weapons must be wondering whether such capabilities have not been built into the weapons they have been sold, and if yes when they could be disabled.
This issue is not stand-alone, however, as in the Joint Strike Fighter program the worldwide operations of all F-35s, whatever their operator, will be controlled by Lockheed Martin. The company owns the IP rights to the ALIS system, which controls the operation and status of each and every F-35 aircraft in the world, and can ground it at the flick of a switch.
In this particular case, it also is clear that either what the US told India was not true, or that the US failed to disable the Amraam missiles, because Pakistan scrambled F-16s against Indian aircraft in late February and apparently shot down an Indian MiG-21 Bison fighter with an Amraam.)