Senator John McCain wants hearing on F-16 sale to Pakistan

Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee says he is concerned about consequences for US relations with India


Reuters February 25, 2016
US-MADE F-16. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON: US Senator John McCain on Thursday urged the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to hold a hearing on the possible sale of Lockheed Martin Corp F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.

McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters he was concerned about the timing of the Obama administration's decision to approve the sale of the fighter jets to Pakistan, and potential consequences for US relations with India.

India outraged at sale of F-16 jets to Pakistan

"I would rather have seen it kicked over into the next administration," McCain said.

He said a hearing would help senators decide what to do about the proposed sale, noting that he was himself very "conflicted."

The US government announced on Feb 12 that it had approved the sale to Pakistan of up to eight F-16 fighter jets, as well as radars and other equipment in a deal valued at $699 million.

The deal drew immediate criticism from India.

US lawmakers now have 30 days to block the sale, although such action is rare since deals are usually well-vetted before any formal notification.

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

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker allowed the Obama administration to proceed with the deal, but said he would not approve using US funds to pay for the planes through the foreign military financing (FMF) programme.

Corker told Secretary of State John Kerry in a letter earlier this month that he was concerned about Pakistan's ties to the Haqqani network, a militant group that US officials have said is behind attacks in Afghanistan.

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COMMENTS (35)

Someone | 5 years ago | Reply @abc: Pakistan's economy is understated. There are billions of reserves abroad (black economy) which would realistically double the GDP if they were accounted for. Swiss accounts alone have over $200 billion of black Pakistani cash (see Finance Minister Ishaq Dar's report) which would be more than enough to buy entire Maharashtra and Mumbai.
Sher | 5 years ago | Reply This all episode is not an embarrassment to either Pakistan or India. Its a big embarrassment for USA. If they give F-16s to Pakistan then it a big slap on India and India will return this slap in kind to USA. And US doesn't give these F-16s to Pakistan then they will lose the very last leverage they have on Pakistan and US knows very well what would happen if Pakistan pulls off its cooperation with US in Afghanistan, US and its allies will be doomed there indefinitely. So, a suggestion to US. Do not bring such sales issues to senate. Did they bring any other weapon sales e.g. to India and Israel to senate the answer is NO.
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