At end of U.S. tour, Minister indicates F-16 issue came up in talks with Blinken

Sriram Lakshman
 At end of U.S. tour, Minister indicates F-16 issue came up in talks with Blinken

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meeting with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar in Washington, DC. PTI-

You're reading this article from

Friday, 30th September 2022
Page No. 18
Delhi Print Edition

India has objected at various levels to the U.S. providing Pakistan assistance for its F-16s, and asked whether this $450 million sustainment package for the fighter jets came up during his talks with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar indicated that it did.

“I think a number of issues pertaining to our neighbourhood came up... you can guess the obvious, but I would not like to characterise the discussion in detail because it’s a discussion within a closed group,” Mr. Jaishankar told the Indian press at a briefing in Washington DC on Wednesday afternoon, as he concluded his approximately 10-day visit to the U.S.

Speaking to a diaspora group on Sunday, Mr. Jaishankar had said, “You’re not fooling anybody by saying these things,” about the F-16 assistance package being given to Pakistan ostensibly for counter-terrorism reasons.”

At Wednesday’s briefing, Mr. Jaishankar said the energy fallout of the Ukraine conflict also featured widely in his talks.

“And by the way, that was also applied to the energy scenario as well. So, in fact, that particular subject, there were a wider set of discussions and consultations involving others beyond [the U.S. Department of] State as well,” the Minister said, alluding to energy insecurity and energy issues caused by the Russia-Ukraine war, including a cap on energy prices being worked out by the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies.

Standing beside Mr. Blinken on Tuesday at a press appearance, Mr. Jaishankar had said India was a $2,000 per capita economy and the price of oil “is breaking our back”.

Mr Jaishankar, on Wednesday, said “overall” his sense was that India-US ties are “in a good place” and the relationship had “great capability and potential”. He characterised the bilateral conversation as “solid, positive, product”.

A day earlier, Mr. Blinken had characterised the relationship as “simply one of the most consequential in the world”.

Top News Today