India summons US envoy over sale of F-16 jets to Pakistan
India expressed disappointment on Saturday over the US administration’s proposal to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, saying it disagreed that such arms transfers would help combat terrorism.
Foreign secretary S Jaishankar summoned US ambassador Richard Verma to convey India’s “displeasure”. “We are disappointed at the decision of the Obama administration to notify the sale of F-16 aircraft to Pakistan. We disagree with their rationale that such arms transfers help to combat terrorism,” the external affairs ministry said in a statement.
The Pentagon’s defense security cooperation agency said it had notified lawmakers about the possible sale on Thursday. It said the sale would improve Pakistan’s capability to meet current and future security threats.
However, the Obama admin- istration’s proposal to sell the F-16 jets to Pakistan is unlikely to sail smoothly through the US Congress with both Republican and Democrat lawmakers raising concerns over the South Asian country acting as a safe haven for terrorist groups targeting India and Afghanistan. In the past few days, influential lawmakers have sent a flurry of letters to US president Barack Obama and secretary of state John Kerry expressing opposition to the decision to sell F-16s to Pakistan.
The Pentagon said the F-16s would improve Pakistan’s capability to meet current and future security threats.