M A I N   N E W S

Pak to get F16s, Bush tells PM
Offers co-production of higher model to India
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
In a balancing act, United States President George W Bush telephoned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this evening to convey that Washington had cleared the sale of F-16 fighter aircraft to Pakistan.

Dr Manmohan Singh conveyed India’s concern about the US decision to sell F-16 fighter aircraft to Pakistan, saying it would adversely affect the security situation in the subcontinent, PM’s Media Advisor Sanjay Baru told this correspondent. Mr Bush’s call to the PM was made at 7.15 p.m.

Indian concerns about delivery of F-16 aircraft to Pakistan can be better understood if one appreciates the fact that F-16 are nuclear-capable aircraft. In other words, F-16s can drop nuclear payload on a number of Indian cities.

Top sources in the government told The Tribune that though the US had decided to sell F-16s to Pakistan, it had offered “much more” to India, including civilian nuclear technology.

Sources said the US had also advised all its defence manufacturers to sell to India whatever equipment it desired to sell.

Secondly, the US is understood to have offered to India a “top-of-the-line” model of F-16, a plane which is several notches above the F-16 that is being sold to Pakistan

An important distinction here is that the US is offering to Pakistan F-16s on “Take-and-fly-away” basis, it had offered India licensed production of F-16s in India. The Us agreeing to licensed production in another country is rarity.

Third and last, the US has offered to sell to India civilian nuclear technology, something about which Washington is extremely careful.

This may lead to the US selling India a NUCLEAR REACTOR, which will be nothing short of a miracle considering the state of Indo-US relations in the past 58 years.

A top source said the nuclear reactor from America was “an ultimate thing” and remarked that one did not need to be bothered about the F-16s because the planes had been offered to both India and Pakistan in terms of the size of the countries and their economies.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |