U.S.-Pakistan defence deal | India

India shares concern with U.S. on F-16 refit

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh | Photo Credit: PTI

India on Wednesday conveyed its concern over the recent U.S. approval of a $450-million sustenance package for Pakistan’s F-16 fighter fleet. This was conveyed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during a telephonic conversation with the U.S. Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin. This is the first official response from India on this issue.

“I conveyed India’s concern at the recent U.S. decision to provide sustenance package for Pakistan’s F-16 fleet,” Mr. Singh said on Twitter. “Had a warm and productive conversation with Mr. Austin and ... discussed growing convergence of strategic interests and enhanced defence and security cooperation.”

Stating that they also discussed ways to strengthen technological and industrial collaboration and also explore cooperation in emerging and critical technologies, Mr. Singh added, “Look forward to continuing dialogue with Secretary Austin to further consolidating India-U.S. partnership.”

On September 7, the Defence Security Cooperation Agency notified a possible Foreign Military Sales (FMS) worth $450 million for engine, electronic warfare and other hardware and software upgrades and spares for the F-16 fighter jet programme with Pakistan. It also said that the proposed sale does not include any new capabilities, weapons, or munitions.

Also Read | India maintains silence as Pakistan gets $450 million package for F-16 fleet from U.S.

Secretary Austin expressed support for India's defence modernisation programme and looked forward to further strengthening India-U.S. defence industrial and technology collaboration, a Defence Ministry statement said.

Mr. Singh conveyed that he looked forward to welcoming Mr. Austin in India for the next Ministerial 2+2 Dialogue in 2023, the statement added.

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Printable version | Sep 15, 2022 9:43:47 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rajnath-conveys-to-austin-indias-concern-over-us-f-16-refit-package-for-pakistan/article65890446.ece