US sale of F-16s to Pak: India expresses disappointment
In a meeting that lasted about 45 minutes Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar told the US Ambassador that not only was India disappointed by the move, but also upset that the decision to sell Pakistan eight F-16 fighter jets in a deal worth $699.04 million meant India’s protests over the past year on the issue had gone unheeded.
The decision, that was conveyed by the Pentagon to the US Congress on Thursday, and was announced by the US government on Friday. Early on Saturday morning, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement that India was “disappointed at the decision of the Obama administration to notify the sale of F-16 aircrafts to Pakistan.”
Rejecting the US State Department’s contention that the sale of fighter jets was in the US’ “vital national security interests” as it helped Pakistan fight terror groups, the MEA said: “We disagree with their rationale that such arms transfers help to combat terrorism. The record of the last many years in this regard speaks for itself.” Officials confirmed that India will take up the issue with the Obama administration in Washington as well, and had been in regular touch since the proposal to sell the jets, which India believes will only strengthen Islamabad’s ability to threaten New Delhi.