The Barack Obama administration has decided to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan worth nearly $ 700 million.
Upset with the decision, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said,”We are disappointed at the decision of the Obama Administration to notify the sale of F-16 aircraft to Pakistan.”
The MEA will summon US ambassador to convey India’s displeasure over the decision of the Obama government.
We are disappointed at the decision of the Obama Administration to notify the sale of F-16 aircrafts to Pakistan pic.twitter.com/NGdrAL2m9i
— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) February 13, 2016
Despite mounting opposition from influential lawmakers from both the Republican and Democratic parties, the US State Department on Friday, notified the Congress that it has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Pakistan for F-16 Block 52 Aircraft, equipment, training, and logistics support.
The estimated cost is $699.4 million, the Defence Security Cooperation Agency – a wing of the Pentagon – said in a statement, adding that this proposed sale contributes to the US foreign policy objectives and national security goals by helping to improve the security of a strategic partner in South Asia.
Asserting that this will not alter the basic military balance in the region, the Pentagon said the proposed sale improves Pakistan’s capability to meet current and future security threats.
These additional F-16 aircraft will facilitate operations in all-weather, non-daylight environments, provide a self- defence/area suppression capability, and enhance Pakistan’s ability to conduct counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations.
“It will increase the number of aircraft available to the Pakistan Air Force to sustain operations, meet monthly training requirements, and support transition training for pilots new to the Block-52. Pakistan will have no difficulty absorbing these additional aircraft into its air force,” the Pentagon agency said.
“This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded,” said the Defence Security Cooperation Agency.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a State Department official defended the decisions of the US Government. “We strongly support the proposed sale of eight F-16s to Pakistan. This platform will support Pakistan’s counter-terrorism and counterinsurgency operations, and has contributed to the success of these operations to date,” the official said.
“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,” the official said, adding that these operations are in the national interests of both Pakistan and the US, and in the interest of the region more broadly.