Approving Pakistan's F-16 fleet sustainment programme not designed as a message to India: Pentagon official

Approving Pakistan’s F-16 fleet sustainment programme not designed as a message to India: Pentagon official

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The U.S. has said the move is associated with the country’s defence partnership with Islamabad which is primarily focussed on counter-terrorism and nuclear security.

The U.S. has said the move is associated with the country’s defence partnership with Islamabad which is primarily focussed on counter-terrorism and nuclear security.

The U.S. has said that its decision to provide a $450 million sustenance package for Pakistan’s F-16 fleet is not designed as a message to India rather it is associated with America’s defence partnership with Islamabad which is primarily focussed on counter-terrorism and nuclear security.

On September 8, the Joe Biden administration approved a $450 million F-16 fighter jet fleet sustainment programme to Pakistan, reversing the decision of the previous Trump administration to suspend military aid to Islamabad for providing safe havens for the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network.

India has conveyed to the U.S. its concerns over Washington’s decision to provide a sustenance package for Pakistan’s F-16 fighter jet fleet.

India maintains silence as Pakistan gets $450 million package for F-16 fleet from U.S.

In a notification to the U.S. Congress, the State Department made a determination approving a possible foreign military sale for sustainment and related equipment for an estimated cost of $450 million, arguing that this will sustain Islamabad’s capability to meet current and future counterterrorism threats by maintaining its F-16 fleet.

Responding to a question, Dr. Ely Ratner, Assistant Secretary of Defence for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, on Thursday said that the recent U.S. action with Pakistan on F-16 is not designed as a message to India as it relates to its relationship with Russia.

“The decision inside the U.S. government around the F-16 issue was made predicated on the U.S. interests associated with our defence partnership with Pakistan which is primarily focussed on counterterrorism and nuclear security and as the (Defence) Secretary Lloyd Austin made clear to (Defence) Minister Rajnath Singh during their call last week, this case did not include any upgrades or munitions,” he told a group of reporters on Thursday and think-tank experts during a virtual round table.

On September 14, Mr. Singh conveyed to U.S. Defence Secretary Austin, India’s concerns over Washington’s decision to provide a sustenance package for Pakistan’s F-16 fighter jet fleet.

“We have been engaging with our Indian counterparts, both in advance of the announcement to preview it and during my visit with Assistant Secretary (Donald) Lu in Delhi as well. So we thought it was quite important to be as transparent as we could with Indian counterparts both in advance and during that decision and it provided a good opportunity to have a healthy exchange on both the U.S. rationale for its limited security partnership with Pakistan as well as a good opportunity to hear India’s concerns about that,” Mr. Ratner said.



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