India summoned the United States envoy in New Delhi on Saturday to express disappointment over the Obama administration’s decision to sell eight Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, along with training, radar and other equipment, a deal worth $699 million.
“We are disappointed at the decision of the Obama Administration to notify the sale of F-16 aircraft to Pakistan,” Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said on Twitter.
“The US ambassador will be summoned by the ministry of external affairs to convey our displeasure,” he added.
Swarup further said, “We disagree with their rationale that such arms transfers help to combat terrorism.”
Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar later met the US ambassador at the ministry to convey India’s disapproval of the deal to Washington, The Hindu reported.
The US government said on Friday it had approved the sale to Pakistan of up to eight F-16 fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp, radar and other equipment in a deal valued at $699 million.
The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which oversees foreign arms sales, said it had notified lawmakers about the possible deal.
The agency said the 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.
Lawmakers have 30 days to block the sale, although such action is rare since deals are well-vetted before any formal notification.