Despite browbeating about the close ties India enjoys with the United States, the US, especially the Obama administration has ddecided to sell eight F-16 jets to Pakistan, despite repeated concerns from India and several US Senators about Islamabad providing safe haven to terrorists.
The US Department of State on Friday informed the US Congress about its unilateral decision to sell eight F-16s to Pakistan and the Congress has 30 days to respond. While delay on the sale is very much on the cards, the decision has given India the taste of American dualism when it comes to India-Pakistan rivalry in the Sub-continent.
More worrying is that the F-16s have the potential to carry nuclear warheads targeting any corner in India. “While it is my intention at this time to clear the sale of eight F-1 6 aircraft to Pakistan, I do not plan to support the expenditure of the very limited foreign military financing (FMF) account to finance this deal, now or in the future,” senator Bob Corker, chairman of the powerful Senate Committee on Foreign Relations said in a letter to US Secretary of state John Kerry.
Congressman Matt Salmon, chairman of the Asia and Pacific subcommittee of the House foreign affairs committee, reiterated the fact that several members of Congress and independent experts have opposed the decision as it provides a significant upgrade to Pakistan’s offensive military capabilities. It “is extremely problematic in light of the Pakistani military’s widely alleged complicity in terrorist violence, as well as the potential for the Pakistani military to use these F-16s to deliver nuclear weapons in conflict scenario with India. I strongly urge the administration to reconsider the sale,” wrote Salmon, a Republican.
Other lawmakers Ted Poe from the Republican party and Tulsi Gabbard from the Democratic party too voiced “serious concerns” over the proposal. They pointed out that Hafiz Saeed, one of the masterminds of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks in which six US citizens were killed, has openly called for more attacks on India.
“Despite being designated as a terrorist organisation by the United Nations, a $ 10 million bounty on his head by the US government and pleas from India to rein in Saeed, he remains free,” they said.