F-16s sale on the line, US Congress stops USD 430 million aid to Pakistan

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WASHINGTON – United States (US) Congress Committee has interrupted financial aid worth USD 430 million to Pakistan putting sale of eight F-16 fighter jets on the line once again,
Department of State stated to a British journal that Obama government is in favour of supplying F-16s to Pakistan but US aid would not be used for the purpose.

Pakistan cannot afford to pay around USD 700 million for eight fighter jets and necessary equipment. As per the previous understanding, United States was to grant USD 430 million while Pakistan was to pitch in USD 270 million.

On the other hand United States Congress has also halted provision of USD 740.2 million funds for Pakistan under military aid package.

Pakistani embassy’s spokesperson in the United States, Nadeem Hotiana said that the US administration has already supported F-16s sale to Pakistan however purchase of arms and ammunition is a lengthy and time-taking procedure.

He said that India had lobbied against Pakistan regarding the sale while some members of the Congress had also criticised the deal. They had said that F-16s could be used against India, he added.

Indian External Affairs Ministry had made it clear in February that it would not buy the argument that the deal would help Pakistan combat terrorism.

“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,” Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup had tweeted.

Read more: India displeased over US decision to sell 8 F-16 jets to Pakistan

Earlier in March, the motion to supply F-16s to Pakistan garnered success in the US Senate with an overwhelming 71 to 24 margin.

The deal between the two sides was kept alive for the past five years however, Obama government announced in February to go through with the sale formally.

In February, Secretary of State John Kerry, while testifying to the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee defended the deal.

Kerry lauded Pakistan’s efforts in war on terror and said that the country is an ally in fight against extremism and has been deeply engaged.

Senators had 30 days to express reservations in the matter after formal announcement by the United States on February 12. Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sharply questioned the plans to sell F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan within the given time.

It should be noted here that the deal is in accordance with US foreign policy s objectives and national security goals of improved security of strategic partner in the South Asia.

The deal involves sale of eight nuclear-capable Lockheed Martin Corp F-16 fighter jets, radar and other equipment.

2016-04-29

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