New Delhi: India has expressed concern over the US decision to provide a $450 million “sustenance package” to Pakistan’s F-16 fighter jet fleet to help the country counter terrorism.
During his telephonic conversation with US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin, defence minister Rajnath Singh expressed concern over the move.
Taking to Twitter, Rajnath Singh wrote, “I conveyed India’s concern at the recent US decision to provide sustenance package for Pakistan’s F-16 fleet. Look forward to continuing dialogue with Secretary Austin to further consolidating India-US partnership.”
“Had a warm and productive telephonic conversation… we discussed growing convergence of strategic interests and enhanced defence and security cooperation,” Singh tweeted.
“We also discussed ways to strengthen technological and industrial collaboration and also explore cooperation in emerging and critical technologies,” the minister said.
The ministry in a statement said “Secretary Austin expressed support for India’s defence modernisation programme and looked forward to further strengthening India-US defence industrial and technology collaboration.
“The defence minister and Secretary Austin also discussed regional issues and affirmed their shared desire for maintaining peace and stability in the region and beyond. Singh conveyed India’s concerns over the US decision to provide sustenance package for Pakistan’s F-16 fleet. The two Ministers reiterated that both sides would continue their productive engagements with the objective of deepening India-US Strategic Partnership. Singh also conveyed that he looked forward to welcoming Secretary Austin in India for the next Ministerial 2+2 Dialogue in 2023,” it said.
The Biden administration had approved a US$ 450 million F-16 fighter jet fleet sustainment programme to Pakistan, saying that the fighter aircraft programme is an important part of a broader US-Pakistan bilateral relationship.
I conveyed India’s concern at the recent US decision to provide sustenance package for Pakistan’s F-16 fleet.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) September 14, 2022
Look forward to continuing dialogue with Seceratry Austin to further consolidating India-US partnership. 3/3