US Will Give Pakistan A $450 Million F-16 Sustainment Package, Despite India’s Concerns
- According to the Biden administration, Pakistan's F-16 programme is a crucial component of its deeper ties with Pakistan.
- The US has stated that it expects Pakistan to take consistent action against all terrorist groups and that the F-16 fleet enables Pakistan to support counterterrorism operations.
Despite India’s worries, the United States is prepared to give Pakistan a $450 million F-16 sustainment package because the Senate has not raised any reservations about the agreement within the required 30-day notice period.
The US Congress was informed on September 7 by the Department of State, via the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of the Biden Administration’s decision to proceed with this defence sale to Pakistan under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme.
Several days later, on September 13, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator Robert Menendez stated to the Senate, “Upon such notification, the Congress has 30 calendar days during which the transaction may be reviewed.”
The Biden administration approved the F-16 fighter jet fleet sustainment programme for Pakistan last month, overturning the Trump administration’s decision to suspend military assistance to Islamabad for providing safe havens for the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network.
None of the 100 Senators have objected to this proposed transaction within the allotted 30 days. With this, the US is prepared to give Pakistan the USD 450 million F-16 maintenance package.
India has questioned the justification for Washington providing Pakistan with F-16 security support worth USD 450 million.
While visiting the US last month, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar claimed that the US and Pakistan’s relationship has “not helped” any nation and questioned the Biden administration’s decision to approve a USD 450 million maintenance package for the F-16 fleet.
According to the Biden administration, Pakistan’s F-16 programme is a crucial component of its deeper ties with Pakistan. The US claimed at many levels, including through Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the White House, that the proposed sale will maintain Pakistan’s capacity to address present and upcoming counterterrorism threats by preserving its F-16 fleet.
Additionally, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin received a message from Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh expressing India’s displeasure with Washington’s choice to support Pakistan’s F-16 fleet.
During a phone call, Singh informed Austin of India’s reservations regarding Washington’s intentions to give Pakistan the package.
On September 14, the defence minister posted on Twitter, “I conveyed India’s worry at the recent US decision to offer sustenance package for Pakistan’s F-16 fleet.”
The US has stated that it expects Pakistan to take consistent action against all terrorist groups and that the F-16 fleet enables Pakistan to support counterterrorism operations.
Particularly since US President Joe Biden labelled Pakistan as the most dangerous country in the world due to its possession of nuclear weapons and political instability, relations between the US and Pakistan have taken a severe hit.
After the comments, Pakistan summoned the American ambassador in Islamabad to express its displeasure. A Pakistani ambassador in Washington, DC, has also been called in by the State Department.