14:00 GMT28 February 2021
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    The Obama administration confirmed its intentions on Friday to sale several F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, a measure strongly opposed by India.

    The US Congress has also expressed strong opposition towards further plans of the US government to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to combat terrorism in Pakistan.

    "We support the proposed sale of eight F-16s to Pakistan to assist Pakistan's counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations. Pakistan's current F-16s have proven critical to the success of these operations to date," according to state department spokesperson Helaena W. White.

    According to the Pakistani newspaper Dawn, Pakistani Ambassador to the US Jalil Abbas Jilani welcomed American efforts to supply the country with F-16 jets despite growing resistance from India and US lawmakers, who believe the fighter jets will be used against India.

    Earlier this month, Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar summoned US Ambassador to India Richard Verma on Saturday to express his disappointment with the US decision to sell F-16 fighter aircraft to Pakistan.

    On February 12, The US Department of State has approved the sale of eight F-16 combat aircraft, radars and other equipment to Pakistan worth $699 million, according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

    Both the Indian government and US lawmakers are united in their opinion that F-16 jets don't bring any assistance in counterterrorism operations and would likely end up being used against India.

    Bob Corker, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, together with Senator Rand Paul opposed the sale, saying a resolution of disapproval which seeks to break all arms sales to Pakistan was introduced on Thursday. If approved, the resolution would also halt the sale of the F-16 jets that requires passage by the Senate before March 12.

    Last Monday, India received an offer from the US defense corporation Lockheed Martin to set up manufacturing of F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft in the country, local media quoted high-ranking sources.


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