India summons US envoy plan to sell jets to Pakistan
NEW DELHI: India summons the U.S. ambassador to convey its "displeasure" at the planned sale of F-16 fighter jets to neighbor Pakistan. The U.S. State Department notified Congress on Friday that it had approved the sale of eight Block 52 Lockheed Martin fighters valued at $699 million, government aides said. The jets will be used to support Pakistan counterterrorism operations against militants, they said.
"We disagree with their rationale that such arms transfers help to combat terrorism," Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said on Twitter. "The record of the last many years in this regard speaks for itself." U.S. Congress has 30 days to approve the sale, which will be announced publicly on Saturday. The planes are powered by Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 engines and pilots will use the Boeing Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System. India and Pakistan have fought four wars and are home to the world's fastest-growing nuclear arsenals and the most militarized border. India was the second-largest buyer of U.S. arms in 2014 and is vying to become one of the first countries to import armed Predator Avenger drones from the U.S., a move that would allow it to remotely drop a bomb on any square inch of Pakistan. Pakistan previously bought 18 Block 52 F-16s as part of a $5.1 billion arms package that included electronics and weapons upgrades for 46 existing Pakistan F-16s.