US approves USD 450 million F-16 fleet to Pakistan despite India’s warnings; experts refutes any severity

Despite warnings from India’s Defence and External Affairs Minister last month, the Joe Biden-administered US government is reportedly set to provide a USD 450 million F-16 sustainment package to Pakistan under the Foreign Military Sales programme. According to an Indian Express report, the Department of State notified the US Congress – through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee- about the Biden Administration’s delimitation to the specific deal for Pakistan.

Notably, India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, while visiting the US last month, warned the American counterpart by stating that America’s relationship with Pakistan has ‘not served’ either of the two countries and raised questions on the Biden Administration’s USD 450 million sustenance package for the F-16 fleet.

Even Defence Minister Rajnath Singh apprised US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin about India’s concerns over Washington’s decision to act on the deal of stealth fighter jets to Pakistan. Although, the Biden administration has argued that Pakistan’s F1-6 programme is a crucial aspect of its border ties, and F-16 jets will meet the current and future counterterrorism threats from adversaries. To understand the magnitude of the deal and the fact that the US ignored India’s stern warning despite being a close ally in the sub-continent, The Quotes spoke to Mr. J.K. Tripathi, Ambassador (r.), Government of India.

“United States of America can’t afford to dare India. Narendra Modi-administered India has established itself in such a strong position that economies like the US wish to stay in India’s good books. Pakistan’s intentions are not hidden from anyone. US citing that the F-16 fleet will Pakistan to counter terrorism is an utter joke. Pakistan is a source of terror activities; none of its neighbouring countries wishes to bomb the nation, which is self-destructive,” said the retired diplomat.

Adding further, the former ambassador of India recalled the fact that the stature of India has improved significantly in the past ten years and America’s decision not to impose sanctions under its stringent law Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) for purchasing S-400 missile systems from Russia, is a testimony of that.

“United States needs India by its side more than any country in South Asia. America needs India by his side to counter major powers like China and Russia in the sub-continent,” added the retired diplomat.

Meanwhile, Group Captain UK Devnath (r.) claimed that the F-16 fleet had been the backbone of the Pakistan Air Force since 1981, and the USA is providing aircraft parts to Pakistan to overcome the poor serviceability state of F -16 fighter fleet.

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“For the last few years, the serviceability rate of the PAF F-16 fleet had fallen to only 50%. This meant that at any given time, only half of the F-16 were operationally available for flying. This resulted in a big loss of operational capabilities of PAF. Now with these spare parts being available, the serviceability rate of the F-16 fleet is likely to improve to 75%. This will give a great boost to the offensive capabilities of PAF,” said Gp. Cap. Devnath.

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