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    Blame Game: Pakistan Accuses India of Lobbying to Block F-16 Sale

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    In the latest war of words between India and Pakistan, the latter has now accused India of lobbying to block the sale of F-16 fighter aircraft to Islamabad by the US.

    Sartaj Aziz, Advisor on Foreign Affairs to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told the Senate of Pakistan that “the Indian lobby has been making untiring efforts to reverse the US decision and a strong attempt, through Senator Rand Paul’s resolution, to block the sale itself.”

    He further added that “we have forcefully rejected Indian objections to the sale of 8 F-16 to Pakistan and drawn attention to the wide ranging defense deals concluded between India and US during US Defense Secretary’s recent visit to India. We have also emphasized the importance of maintaining strategic stability in South Asia.”

    Earlier, India strongly expressed its displeasure to US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter during his recent visit to India. India has repeatedly voiced its concern with the US administration that the sale of F-16’s to Pakistan will be used against India and not against terrorists.

    “It is well known fact that Pakistan is trying hard to acquire the F-16 fighter planes to use against India. Although Pakistan is trying to convince US that the fighter jets will be used to eliminate terrorists. But the fact is that the F-16 is basically made for air warfare and not to strike terrorists. So India has impressed upon the US government what will be pitfalls of acquiring F-16s by Pakistan. It will have a negative impact on the security and stability of South Asia,” Former Indian Ambassador to Yemen, Venezuela, Oman, Thailand and Spain, and former Member of the National Security Advisory Board, Ranjit Gupta told Sputnik.

    In 2015, the US reached an understanding with Pakistan for the purchase of 8 F-16 fighter jets worth US $699 million. Under the deal Pakistan was required to pay about US $ 270 million whereas US was supposed to provide the rest from its Foreign Military Financing program.

    But the US Congress turned down the Administration’s proposal for use of the Foreign Military Financing facility on this count.  Pakistan can still buy F-16 but will have to pay the full amount from its own treasury.  


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