Latest in the series of revelations by US Central Intelligence Agency about India and Pakistan, recently de-classified report claims that US assessed that the Indian military capability was vastly superior to Pakistan and New Delhi could have severely crippled Pakistani nuclear facilities in a pre-emptive strike.
The report was generated within days of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's assassination in 1984, media reports said.
According to a story published in Economic Times, “In a detailed analysis of India's air power that was put together in November 1984 as tensions scaled up between the two neighbours, the CIA estimated that Pakistan did not have the capability to counter India and that new MiG 29 fighter jets under purchase were superior to Islamabad's F 16 fighters that had been supplied by the US.”
The recently declassified CIA report added that IAF was also capable of providing a 'formidable counter to a challenge from China' as well, the report said.
"We believe that the Pakistanis can neither provide effective air defense for their military and industrial targets against a concerted Indian air attack nor seriously threaten most strategic targets in India," the assessment by the US, which was then an ally and weapons supplier to Pakistan states.
"India, in our view has the capability to carry out a preemptive airstrike that would inflict major damage to Pakistan's most critical nuclear facilities… and destroy or sufficiently damage the facilities to prevent Islamabad from production nuclear weapons for several years," the CIA assessment says, adding that airstrikes alone would perhaps not destroy stockpiled fissile material.