The United States Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified the Congress on Monday that the sale of eight F-16 Block 52 aircraft, its related equipment, training and logistics support to Pakistan is in America’s national interest.
“It is in America’s national interest to sell eight F-16 fighter jets and related equipment to Pakistan,” the DSCA notified US Congress, according to Radio Pakistan.
The DSCA rejected India’s claim that the proposed sale will alter military balance in South Asia. “The DSCA delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on February 11, 2016. This proposed sale contributes to US foreign policy objectives and national security goals by helping to improve the security of a strategic partner in South Asia,” a press release issued by the agency said.
“The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region,” the DCSA said, rejecting Indian concerns that the sale will alter military balance in South Asia. The certification is needed to satisfy the US Congress where pro-India lobby is opposing the sale.
The agency suggested that the provision of these aircraft will have no adverse impact on US defence readiness; however, it will help improve Islamabad’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 counterterrorism operations,” it said.
It also indicated that the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) will not have any difficulty to absorb the F-16 aircraft into its fleet. “This sale will increase the number of aircraft available to the PAF to sustain operations, meet monthly training requirements, and support transition training for pilots new to the Block-52.”
The development comes after Indian expressed displeasure over the possible sale during a meeting between its Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and US Ambassador in New Delhi, Richard Verma.
On Saturday, the spokesperson for India’s external affairs ministry also took to Twitter to express disappointment over the move. “We are disappointed at the decision of the Obama Administration to notify the sale of F-16 aircraft to Pakistan,” Vikas Swarup posted on the microblogging website.