F-16 sale to Pak: MEA doesn’t agree with U.S. ‘counter-terrorism’ rationale

New Delhi, Feb. 18 (ANI): The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday said it does not agree with the United State’s rationale for selling F-16 combat aircraft to Pakistan for counter-terrorism activities.

“The America’s sale of F-16 fighters to Pakistan is very much a matter of concern for us. We do not agree with the rationale that the sale of F-16 to Pakistan is for counter-terrorism activities,” MEA spokeperson Vikas Swarup told the media.

When asked to respond if India’s concern against the sale of fighter planes would affect the Indo-US relationship, Swarup said, “our issues with the United States are very broad based and it is not a single issue relationship.”

“Obviously, this decision of the United States is very unfortunate and certainly it will convey negative sentiment, but I don’t see it making a single point agenda with the U.S,” he added.

India has expressed disappointment over the Obama administration’s proposal to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, saying it disagreed that such arms transfers would help combat terrorism.

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar summoned US ambassador Richard Verma to convey India’s “displeasure”.

“We are disappointed at the decision of the Obama administration to notify the sale of F-16 aircraft to Pakistan. We disagree with their rationale that such arms transfers help to combat terrorism,” the external affairs ministry said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the United States Defence Department said the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan should not be of concern to India and the deal took into account the regional security situation, the Express Tribune has reported.

“The U.S. looks at its relationship with Pakistan and with India as a separate relationship,” Pentagon Press Secretary Petro Cook said while addressing a briefing about India’s reaction to U.S. decision to sell aircraft to Pakistan. (ANI)

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