US-Pak F16 deal in final stage

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Lahore, Mar. 6 (ANI): Taking a major step towards finalising the deal, The United States government has formally issued a notification on the sale of eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.

According to the Dawn, a notification published in the US Federal Register said that the sale contributed to US foreign policy objectives and national security goals by ‘helping to improve the security of a strategic partner in South Asia’.

“We are grateful to the US administration and members of Congress for their acknowledgment of Pakistan’s decisive actions against extremists and terrorists and of the effective role the F-16a play in our counter-terrorism efforts,” said Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani while commenting on the notification.

The notification estimates the total cost of the deal to be nearly $700 million.

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However, India and some US lawmakers are questioning Washington’s move and that if such an arms transfer will help combat terrorism while claiming that the fighter jets will change the military balance in South Asia and will ultimately be used against India.

In a policy justification, posted on the Federal Register, the US administration rejected this assertion. “The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region,” it argued, adding that the aircraft would improve “Pakistan’s capability to meet current and future security threats”.

The administration also noted that the additional F-16 aircraft would facilitate operations in non-daylight environments and “enhance Pakistan’s ability to conduct counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations”. (ANI)

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