PAKISTAN TO GET F-16 FIGHTER JETS

In February 2016, the Obama administration approved the sale of eight F-16 Fighter Jet aircraft to Pakistan, as well as radars and other equipment. An attempt by Republican Senator Rand Paul to prevent the sale under the Arms Control Act was blocked in March by the US Senate. Republican Senator Bob Corker said he would use his power as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to bar the use of any US funds for the deal.In a statement, Corker said, “Prohibiting a taxpayer subsidy sends a much-needed message to Pakistan that it needs to change its behaviour, but preventing the purchase of US aircraft would do more harm than good by paving the way for countries like Russia andChinato sell to Pakistan while also inhibiting greater cooperation on counter terrorism.”

India has opposed the USD 700 million sale, as the F-16 is nuclear capable and its sale will ratchet up tensions in the region. In a written reply in Parliament, India’s Defence Minister, Shri Manohar Parrikar stated: “India has expressed disappointment at the decision of the US Government to notify the sale of F-16 aircrafts to Pakistan. India does not agree with the US rationale that such arms transfers help to combat terrorism. The US ambassador was summoned by the Ministry of External Affairs to convey India’s displeasure”.

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