Despite being a strong ally and QUAD partner, India has conveyed its concern with the Biden administration’s plan to give Pakistan USD 450 million in F-16 fighter support through diplomatic channels in Washington.
The US has supported Pakistan in the name of fighting terrorism and in accordance with a lifetime agreement for F-16 fighter assistance, but the actual motivations are at the Rawalpindi Headquarters and with Army Chief Gen. Qamar Jawed Bajwa. Washington has informed India that the multimillion-dollar support won’t have an effect on India or change the military balance in the Indian subcontinent.
The fighters will be utilized against India as they were on February 27, 2019, in retaliation to India’s Balakot strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist camp the day before. As a result, the Modi government is not intrigued by this development and has informed the Biden administration of its views on the entire issue.
According to Pakistan and US observers, Rawalpindi has received assistance for its F-16s for the following reasons:
Gen. Bajwa has played a key role in providing ammunition to help Ukraine’s military campaign against its recent partner Russia using British planes.
It also serves as a reward for Gen. Bajwa’s Pakistan Army’s impartial stance during the removal of former PM Imran Khan Niazi, who was previously leveraged by the same Army Chief to unseat Nawaz Sharif in the most recent general election. On February 24, the day the Red Army invaded Ukraine, Niazi was in Moscow where he met with ally Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Additionally, the US is praising Gen. Bajwa for his efforts to reduce tensions with India along the Line of Control (LoC) by ordering a cease-fire at the frontiers.
India disapproves of the justification used by the US State Department to support the foreign military sale of sustainment and associated equipment for the F-16 fighters, despite the fact that it is only intended to maintain Pakistan’s F-16 fighters and not to upgrade military capabilities, acquire new ordnance, or acquire air to air missiles.
The fact is that Pakistan needs spare components for its F-16 fleet urgently because the Chinese JF-17 fighter has failed militarily. Even during the strike on February 27, 2019, the Pakistani F-16 launched missiles against Indian fighters that were being intercepted, and the JF-17 fighters did not participate in the counter offensive.
“This will sustain Islamabad’s capability to meet the current and future counterterrorism threats by maintaining its F-16 fleet as well as support American foreign policy and national security objectives by allowing interoperability in ongoing counterterrorism efforts and in preparation for future contingency operations,” the official Pentagon justification for the support package to Pakistan read.
Senior diplomat: “After this support, one would like to hear the response from External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to anyone asking questions about India purchasing oil from Russia in the wake of the Ukraine situation.”
According to Pakistan analysts, US funding for the F-16 programme won’t be Islamabad’s only sop to Rawalpindi because steps are being taken to remove the country from the FATF’s “grey list.” The Pakistani tactic of requesting the Taliban government to find and detain Masood Azhar, the superterrorist of the JeM, in Afghanistan, makes this pretty clear. This action is taken in response to FATF demands that Pakistan take action against Azhar and his terror organisation, which is situated in the Punjabi city of Bahawalpur. The new story is being carefully crafted to suggest that Azhar moved to Afghanistan’s Kunar province when the Taliban took over Kabul on August 15, 2021.
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