- The $450 million package is reportedly the Biden administration's way of saying "thank you" to Pakistan for any part it may have had in the assassination of Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul, rumours.
As part of a long-standing strategy of providing “life cycle maintenance and sustainment packages for US-origin systems,” the US has attempted to allay concerns over the Biden administration’s proposed $450 million sale of F-16 spare parts and services to Pakistan. Also read Handwara Encounter: Pakistan Increases Patrolling by Its Fighter Jets Out of Fear of Indian Retaliation
In a clear message to Islamabad, the US also wanted to emphasise that these fighter jets were intended to bolster anti-terrorism efforts and that “we expect Pakistan to take continuous action against all terrorist groups.” Also Read: Wing Commander Nauman Akram is killed as a Pakistani F-16 crashes during a practise flight
In order to further its foreign policy goals in Afghanistan, where the Taliban presently hold power, and India, where Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and other groups are active, Pakistan has a notorious history of favouring decent terrorists. Also Read: Pakistan’s ‘Misuse’ of F-16s During Air Skirmishes With India Earned Criticism From The US
Late last week, the US State Department informed Congress of a proposed $450 million sale, raising concerns in India given that Pakistan has used these fighter jets both in counterterrorism operations and against India, most notably in the famous air battle with Indian Air Force aircraft in February 2019. In that battle, India claims to have shot down an F-16.
Pakistan’s Air Force has more than 70 F-16s that are currently operational; the most recent additions were delivered in 2014. The US Senate voted 71–24 in favour of the agreement, rejecting an attempt by the Obama administration to sell eight more of them under subsidised conditions in 2016.
“The US government informed Congress of a potential Foreign Military Sales case to support the F-16 programme of the Pakistan Air Force. The United States provides life cycle maintenance and sustainment packages for US-origin platforms as part of long-standing policy, and Pakistan is an important counterterrorism partner, Department of State spokesperson in response to a request for comment on Monday as worry grew in New Delhi.
The bilateral relationship between the United States and Pakistan as a whole—and specifically the F-16 programme in Pakistan—is crucial. By keeping its F-16 fleet operational, the proposed sale will maintain Pakistan’s capacity to address both present and future counterterrorism threats.
The representative concluded by saying, “The F-16 fleet helps Pakistan to support counterterrorism operations, and we expect Pakistan to take continuous action against all terrorist organisations.”
The proposed sale has drawn a lot of interest as it would end a protracted period of strained relations, which was recently marked by a lack of communication between US President Joe Biden and first Prime Minister Imran Khan and then Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, though other officials have maintained contact.
The $450 million package is reportedly the Biden administration’s way of saying “thank you” to Pakistan for any part it may have had in the assassination of Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul, rumours.
In addition, Islamabad used its control over the Haqqani Network, whose leader Sirajuddin Haqqani is the Interior Minister of Afghanistan, to give Americans the location of the Al-Qaeda leader, supporters of this viewpoint. Pakistan may have permitted the US to use its territory to launch the drone that captured Zawahiri. There is no evidence for either in the public domain.
The Defence Security Cooperation Agency, a division of the US government that handles such transactions, announced the proposed sale and made it clear that it “does not include any new capabilities, weapons or munitions” in order to allay Indian concerns that this would change the region’s fundamental military balance.