India summons US envoy over fighter sale to Pak

13 February 2016

India today expressed disappointment over the US administration's decision to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, saying it disagrees that "such arms transfers will help combat terrorism".

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar summoned US Ambassador Richard Verma to convey India's position.

"We are disappointed at the decision of the Obama Administration to notify the sale of F-16 aircraft to Pakistan. We disagree with the rationale that such arms transfers help to combat terrorism.

"The record of the last many years in this regard speaks for itself. The US Ambassador will be summoned by the ministry of external affairs to convey our displeasure," the foreign ministry said in a statement earlier in the day.

The Obama administration on Friday notified the US Congress of its decision to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan worth nearly $700 million, notwithstanding American lawmakers' demand for stopping the sale.

The estimated price of the sale 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 counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations, and has contributed to the success of these operations to date," the official said.


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