Days after the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency approved the sale of an integrated air defence weapon system (IADWS), worth an estimated $1.867 billion, to India, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry on Thursday termed the decision "disturbing" and accused the American government of destabilising the region.
Contradicting the claim made by the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency, Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said the sale of such “sophisticated weapons to India will disturb the strategic balance in South Asia”.
“Defence relations between the US and India are contributing to destabilisation of peace and security in South Asia… the sale of such sophisticated weapons (IADWS) to India will have security implications for Pakistan and the region,” the spokesperson said during the weekly media briefing on Thursday.
Pakistan’s concern came after the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency approved the Indian request to purchase an IADWS comprising dozens of AMRAAM missiles; Stinger FIM-92L missiles.
The contract, if concluded anytime soon, would provide India with M4A1 rifles, thousands of cartridges, canister launchers and a National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System-II (NASAMS) to secure Deli and the national capital region.
The long-pending request from the Indian Defence Ministry aims to expand the country’s existing air defence architecture to counter threats posed by air attack.
“The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region,” the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency had said on 10 February.
India has been strengthening its air missile defence capability by inducting Russian S-400 missile defence systems and domestically produced ballistic air defence systems in the next few years.
The tensions between India and Pakistan erupted into outright conflict last February, when the Indian Air Force carried out a missile strike on Balakot inside Pakistan to allegedly destroy terror camps maintained by the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed. A suicide bomber from Pakistan-based terror group had blown up a car in front of a military convoy in the Pulwama district of Indian side of Kashmir, killing over 40 soldiers.