In­dia sum­mons US en­voy plan to sell jets to Pak­istan

The Pak Banker - - BUSINESS -

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.

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