Updated: Wed, 14 Sep 2022 07:19 PM IST
INDIA on Wednesday raised concerns with the United States over Washington's decision to provide a sustenance package for Pakistan's F-16 fighter jet fleet. India's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh appraised US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin about India's concerns on the issue during a telephonic conversation.
"I conveyed India's concern at the recent US decision to provide sustenance package for Pakistan's F-16 fleet," Rajnath Singh said on Twitter.
The US has planned to provide Foreign Military Sales (FMS) worth USD 450 million for hardware, software and spares for the F-16 fighter fleet of Pakistan.
"Had a warm and productive telephonic conversation with the US Secretary of Defence, Mr. Lloyd Austin. We discussed growing convergence of strategic interests and enhanced defence & security cooperation," Singh said.
"We also discussed ways to strengthen technological and industrial collaboration and also explore cooperation in emerging and critical technologies," he said.
Singh said he was looking forward to continuing dialogue with Secretary Austin to further consolidate the India-US partnership.
Meanwhile, the US has argued that the sustenance package will sustain Islamabad's capability to meet current and future counterterrorism threats by maintaining its F-16 fleet.
"The proposed sale will continue the sustainment of Pakistan's F-16 fleet, which greatly improves Pakistan's ability to support counterterrorism operations through its robust air-to-ground capability. Pakistan will have no difficulty absorbing these articles and services into its armed forces," the Pentagon said.
This is the first major security assistance to Pakistan after former US President Donald Trump in 2018 had announced to stop all defence and security assistance to Pakistan alleging that Islamabad was not a partner in its fight against terrorism.
In 2018, Trump suspended about $2 billion in security aid to Islamabad for failing to clamp down on the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network terror groups and dismantle their safe havens in the country.
According to the Congressional notification, the proposed sale does not include any new capabilities, weapons, or munitions.
(With Agencies Inputs)