India ‘disappointed’ over F-16s sale to Pakistan

Jaishankar

NEW DELHI: India on Saturday expressed ‘disappointment’ over the United States’ decision to sell eight F16 fighter jets to Pakistan.

India Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar summoned US Ambassador Richard Verma to convey India’s “displeasure”, Hidustan Times reported.

“We are disappointed at the decision of the Obama Administration to notify the sale of F-16 aircrafts to Pakistan. We disagree with their rationale that such arms transfers help to combat terrorism,’ the external affairs ministry said in a statement.

The Pentagon’s Defence Security Cooperation Agency said it had notified lawmakers about the possible sale on Thursday. It said the sale would improve Pakistan’s capability to meet current and future security threats.

F-16s would allow Pakistan’s Air Force to operate in all-weather environments and at night, while improving its self-defense capability and bolstering its ability to conduct counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations.

US lawmakers have 30 days to block the sale, although such action is rare since deals are well-vetted before any formal notification.

One U.S. official said the administration was convinced that F-16s were the right platform to support Pakistan’s counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations.

“These operations reduce the ability of militants to use Pakistani territory as a safe haven for terrorism and a base of support for the insurgency in Afghanistan, which is in the national interests of both Pakistan and the United States, and in the interest of the region more broadly,” the official said.

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