Rajnath Singh dials US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin over Pakistan's F-16 deal : The Tribune India

Rajnath Singh dials US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin over Pakistan's F-16 deal

Rajnath Singh dials US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin over Pakistan's F-16  deal


Tribune News Service

Ajay Banerjee

New Delhi, September 14

Less than a week after the US gave nod to a $450 million F-16 fighter jet fleet sustainment programme to Pakistan, India has conveyed its ‘concerns’ at the development.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, on Wednesday, spoke over the phone with US Secretary of Defence, Lloyd Austin.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

“I conveyed India’s concern at the recent US decision to provide sustenance package for Pakistan’s F-16 fleet,” a statement of the Ministry of Defence said. Last week, Washington okayed its first major security assistance to Islamabad in four years. The Joe Biden-led administration approved a $450 million F-16 fighter jet fleet sustainment programme to Pakistan to help it meet ‘counterterrorism threats’. “Pakistan is an important counterterrorism partner, and as part of the longstanding policy, the United States provides lifecycle maintenance and sustainment packages for US-origin platforms,” a State Department spokesperson had said on September 8, while announcing the package for Pakistan. The F16 is produced by a US company.

The Pentagon’s Defence Security Cooperation Agency in a note had said: “This will sustain Islamabad’s capability to meet current and future counterterrorism threats by maintaining its F-16 fleet as well as support American foreign policy and national security objectives by allowing interoperability in the ongoing counterterrorism efforts and in preparation for future contingency operations.”

In 2018, Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump had suspended about $2 billion in security aid to Islamabad for failing to clamp down on the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network terror groups. “Today, the MoD said Rajnath Singh and Lloyd Austin had a warm and fruitful telephonic conversation. They reviewed the multi-faceted India-US defence cooperation and reiterated mutual commitment to further strengthen military-to-military ties,” the statement said. Secretary Austin expressed support for India’s defence modernisation programme.

Opposes package to islamabad

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday spoke over the phone with US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin
  • The Joe Biden-led administration approved a $450 million F-16 fighter jet fleet sustainment programme to Pakistan to help it meet ‘counterterrorism threats’

#joe biden #Pakistan #rajnath singh

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