War of words over F-16 deal

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:03 pm IST

Published - February 15, 2016 02:13 am IST - NEW DELHI:

War of words continued for the second day running on Sunday as Pakistan said it was “surprised” by India’s response to the American decision to supply eight F-16 fighter jets to the Pakistan Air Force.

“Their army and arsenal stock is much larger and they are the largest importer of defence equipment. As regards F-16 sale, Pakistan and the United States closely cooperate in countering terrorism. A U.S. spokesperson clearly announced that the sale is to enhance precision strike capability,” a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan said.

Strategic commentators were quick to find fault with the statement from the Pakistan Foreign Ministry.

“India is not the largest importer of arms. India is one of the big importers. Our weapons acquisition policy is also different from other countries and we cannot, therefore, be slotted with others in purchasing of weapons,” said Uday Bhaskar of the Society for Policy Studies.

Envoy defends salePTI reports:

U.S. Ambassador to India Richard Verma described the sale as “part of a legacy announcement made several years ago.”

“There are technical processes like the Congressional ratification,” he said. “There is a big counter-terrorism insurgency component as well. Over the years our assistance to Pakistan has been a mix of both civilian and military equipment,” he said.

On Friday, India summoned Mr. Verma for conveying its opposition over the Obama administration’s decision.

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