The F-16s sale and Indian
ON February 13 the US Administration finally cleared the sale of eight state-of-theart F-16s Block-52 fighters to Pakistan and the US Department of Defense's Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced their delivery.
The DSCA noted the sale was necessary to support Pakistan's CT operations and that the "proposed sale contributes to US foreign policy objectives..." This did not seem a big deal until Indian dismay hit social media. Before the deal was announced there was some lobbying in mainstream and digital media in the US against the sale of these F-16s. The main refrain was that Pakistan was not sufficiently targeting the Haqqani Network.
Pakistan had repeatedly sought these F-16s for counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations. We know counterinsurgency is about much more than just military operations but equally we know that the level of entrenchment, sanctuaries, training and weaponisation included requires air power. Deployment of air power can also often mean loss of innocent lives but such is the tragedy of undoing the wrongs of state policies.
Every option we exercise to undo a policy blunder has a price tag attached to it yet use of air power is unavoidable. F16s have high endurance deployment, exceptional ground surveillance and mapping sensors, all required for effective anti-terror ops.
This is not a low-priced aircraft. The total deal is reportedly for $699 million, to be paid for jointly by Pakistan and by the US under the military support programme. Indeed an expensive but unavoidable way to clean up past blun-