On February 13, 2016 the United States (U.S.) decided to move forward with the sale of eight U.S.-made F-16 Block-52 fighters to Pakistan. The U.S. Department of Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) informed U.S. lawmakers about the deal. An official of DSCA told Defense News “We support the proposed sale of eight F-16s to Pakistan, which we view as the right platform to support Pakistan’s counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations”. It is said that in addition to eight F-16 Block 52 fighters, the deal will include increased performance engines, advanced radars, electronic warfare equipment, and spare and repair parts. In its official notice, the DSCA noted that the “proposed sale contributes to U.S. foreign policy objectives and national security goals by helping to improve the security of a ‘strategic partner’ in South Asia.”
As reported in the international media, progress made on the F-16 deal has propelled the U.S.-Pakistan relationship back into public eye. The country which has been immensely irked by this pro-Pakistan U.S. decision is none but Pakistan’s ever-belligerent neighbor –India. The Indian government did not waste a second in venting its tantrums over this decision of the U.S. A spokesman for the Indian foreign ministry, Vikas Swarup, posted a statement on Twitter: “We are disappointed at the decision of the Obama Administration to notify the sale of F-16 aircrafts to Pakistan. We disagree with their rationale that such arms transfers would help in combating terrorism.” New Delhi’s standpoint that the F-16 aircrafts will be diverted away from the purposes for which it is being given and used toward striking India in any future scuffle between the two countries is amateurish and preposterous.
M FAZAL ELAHI,
Islamabad, February 22.