USA seeks information on potential misuse of F-16 by Pakistan


India on February 26 launched what it called a "preemptive" air strike against Pakistan-based militants following a suicide bombing in India-administered Kashmir earlier in the month that killed at least 41 Indian paramilitary personnel. The fresh anti-militancy drive was launched after a Kashmiri suicide bomber, a member of a Pakistan-based militant group, killed 40 Indian paramilitary police on February 14.

Instead of giving any evidence of the cross-border strikes by the Indian Air Force, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had himself "questioned" them by his remarks that the country was feeling the absence of Rafale fighter jets as the results could have been different if India had these aircraft.

He says several homes were destroyed in Pakistan's part of Kashmir, which is split between them and claimed by both in its entirety. Pakistan's World News Observer reported on Friday that Lockheed Martin - the F-16's manufacturer - was planning a lawsuit against the Indian government for falsely claiming to have shot down the Pakistani jet "for political gains".

British Prime Minister Theresa May spoke to Pakistani Premier Imran Khan on Sunday to emphasise the importance of Pakistan taking action against all terrorist groups, Downing Street said.

A furious backlash erupted in India over a video of an Indian pilot shot down by Pakistan praising his captors, as deadly tensions simmered between the neighbours with fierce shelling across their Kashmir frontier.

Villagers carry offering funeral prayer of a boy, who was killed by Indian shelling, at a village in Hatian Bala, 40 km from Muzafarabad, capital of Pakistani Kashmir.

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According to Pentagon's Defense Security and Cooperation Agency (DSCA) F-16 jets were meant to be used to "enhance Pakistan's ability to conduct counter-insurgency and counter terrorism operations".

The nuclear-armed rivals fired mortars and artillery at each other despite the release of an Indian pilot who had been shot down by Pakistan but then sent back as a "goodwill gesture".

Reporting from New Delhi, Al Jazeera's Sohail Rahman said residents in Uri, 50km from Poonch, were moved to safer areas due to the heavy shelling from Pakistan along the LoC.

Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who became the face and symbol of the biggest clash between India and Pakistan in many years, walked across the border just before 9pm (1600 GMT) on Friday in a high-profile handover shown on live television. The country's top civil and military leadership declared the violation of airspace by Indian fighter jets "uncalled for aggression" and decided that the country would respond at a "time and place of its choosing". "Now with another election coming up, Indian politicians are trying to internationally isolate Pakistan, while domestically build consensus that will help them win the election", he said.

Pakistani government official Moazzam Zafar says some 200 families have already taken shelter in three large government buildings in the territory.

"I want to emphasize that we did not receive a formal offer of mediation".