F-16 sale to Pakistan should not be of concern to India: Pentagon

Published: February 17, 2016
Pentagon Press Secretary Petro Cook. PHOTO: REUTERS

Pentagon Press Secretary Petro Cook. PHOTO: REUTERS

The United States Defense Department on Tuesday said the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan should not be of concern to India and the deal took into account the regional security situation.

“The US looks at its relationship with Pakistan and with India as a separate relationship,” Pentagon Press Secretary Petro Cook said while addressing a briefing about India’s reaction to US decision to sell aircraft to Pakistan.

US approved the sale of 8 Lockheed F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan – Pentagon

“We think these are important capabilities for Pakistan to go after terrorists,” the spokesperson said, while referring to the F-16 aircraft which had been playing an important role in the ongoing military operation against terrorists.

“We don’t think it should be a cause concern for India,” he added.

India has expressed disappointment at 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. Pakistan expressed surprise over the Indian reaction to the proposed deal.

The decision by the US State Department to sell additional F-16 aircraft to Pakistan and a subsequent notification to Congress by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which brokerS government-to-government arms sale, came in the face of staunch resistance by the Indian lobby in Washington and some US Congressmen who argued these fighter jets would be used against India.

US envoy summoned: India outraged at sale of F-16 jets to Pakistan

The proposed F-16 deal also faced opposition from some critics in Washington, including Pakistan’s former ambassador to Washington, Hussain Haqqani, who argued against providing such security assistance to Pakistan in a written testimony to the Congress on December 8.

But, these efforts were thwarted by senior diplomats in Washington who remained engaged with the Capitol Hill and met several Senators and Congressmen in recent weeks to make a case for Pakistan.

This was in continuation of an active outreach with members of the Congress that also saw Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif visiting the Capitol Hill last November.

The DSCA while notifying the Congress stated that the sale will not alter the basic military balance in the region and contributes to US foreign policy objectives and national security goals by helping to improve the security of a strategic partner in South Asia.

“We think this is a capability that will help Pakistan in its counterterrorism effort and we think that’s in the national security interests of the United States,” Pentagon spokesperson reiterated, laying emphasis on the importance of the F-16 deal.

Disappointed over India’s reaction to US sale of F-16 jets to Pakistan: FO

Analysts believe the proposed sale will improve Pakistan’s capability to meet current and future security threats. PAF currently operates 76 F-16 fighters. The latest sale, if it goes through, will boost the fleet to 84 aircraft.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Rana
    Feb 17, 2016 - 12:57PM

    Today India gave the go-ahead to the bogged-down purchase of 145 M777-Howitzer from USA. That will make the US look at the F16s from a different angle. Wait for another week and you will hear a different version.Recommend

  • irfan
    Feb 17, 2016 - 1:23PM

    But it should concern Pakistan that USA is selling Junk to Pakistan . As soon Pakistan was getting close to Russia , USA started playing dirty Politics .Russia and China sold Pakistan latest Attack Helicopters and US came to sabotage the situation by offering Pakistan Viper.

    USA is a snake and their is no point of feeding a snake , which in return will bite you only. Recommend

  • OSD
    Feb 17, 2016 - 1:24PM

    Congratulations to the PAF for this latest addition! It is slowly but surely regaining its former glory.Recommend

  • Komal S
    Feb 17, 2016 - 3:08PM

    Who is feeding whom here? Again an oversized estimation of Pakistani leverage.Recommend

  • Pakistani Sindhi
    Feb 17, 2016 - 3:19PM

    @irfan: These F-16s are to be delivered by the Lockheed Martin of the United States, considered one of top American global aerospace, defense, security companies. And yet you call it “junk”. Recommend

  • Feb 17, 2016 - 3:32PM

    this is not junk ! these are the latest f-16’s which are developed to challenge F-35 aircraftsRecommend

  • Feb 17, 2016 - 3:34PM

    US wants to pull out its forces from Afghanistan and the security situation in Afghanistan is not good enough….US is aware of the terrorism being sponsored in Pakistan via Afghanistan.
    Iran is also purchasing su-30 aircrafts from Russia….plus these F-16’s will contribute in the security of Balochistan or GWADARRecommend

  • Pakistani
    Feb 17, 2016 - 4:37PM

    It’s shocking to hear that only 8 additional aircraft will alter the military balance in South Asia. I heard somewhere that India have 800+ fighter aircrafts while Pakistan only have 250+
    Plus Indian military and and their weapons and all other military stuff is more advanced as compared to Pakistan. Almost triple army. And still lobbying against 8 aircrafts. Lol
    Come on yaar.Recommend

  • Maqsood Kayani
    Feb 17, 2016 - 4:57PM

    Why doesn’t Pakistan raise concerns / “express displeasure” whenever India strikes a purchase deal for armaments? Most of these armaments procured by India are Pakistan specific and will be used against Pakistan. India already is one of the biggest purchasers / procurers of armaments in the world and USA is only to happy to oblige.Recommend

  • cautious
    Feb 17, 2016 - 6:04PM

    @irfan: Classic anti American blather – long on blather and short on substance. First off the USA doesn’t care whether you buy weapons from China or Russia – never has. Secondly – the F-16’s Pakistan is buying are considered one of the best combat proven aircraft in the World – when in doubt ask someone in the Pakistan air-force.Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Feb 17, 2016 - 6:19PM

    India should grow up :) and act mature :) Recommend

  • Syed Ahmed
    Feb 17, 2016 - 7:45PM

    never bite the hand that feeds, the US has been Pakistans best friend, over any other….I doubt you are Pakistani and disagree with American policy, but refrain from name calling. Every nation has its own interest, we dont need enemies, we have enough, on our left and right.Recommend

  • Syed Ahmed
    Feb 17, 2016 - 7:47PM

    Indians are experts at drama…..their leaders are like the bollywood queens of Drama, everyone knows and no one takes them seriously when they whine against PakistanRecommend

  • Indian Guy
    Mar 1, 2016 - 2:01PM

    I second you pal, this was useless. Recommend

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