US fighter jets
AMIDST stiff opposition from India and top American lawmakers, the US government has formally published federal notification for the sale of eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.
“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,” said the notification which was published by the federal register on Friday (March 4), along with a copy of the February 11 letter, which the Defense Security Cooperation Agency wrote to the House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan.
The total cost of these F-16 is estimated to be nearly $700 million, said the federal notification. It added that the Government of Pakistan had requested for this sale.
India has opposed the sale of F-16 to Pakistan, saying it disagree with Washington’s rationale that such arms transfers help to combat terrorism.
Republican Senator Rand Paul has asked colleagues in the Senate to join him in opposing the sale of F-16s to Pakistan.
Pakistan Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz told Defence Writers Group this week that Pakistan had initially requested for 18 F-16s, but because of “financing problem” it is purchasing just eight.
“In the last five years Pakistan air force has been saving US assistance to be able to finance these F-16. That is why, the administration has recommended that these should be sold because it is a very critical part of our counter terrorism operation,” Aziz said.
These F-16, Aziz argued, are a critical tool in the war against terrorism.