India said it is disappointed with the United States’ decision to sell eight nuclear-capable F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan and does not believe such an arms transfer would help combat terrorism.
The US ambassador to India, Richard Verma, was summoned on Saturday to the External Affairs Ministry where Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar conveyed India’s displeasure about the deal announced in Washington.
The US government said on Friday that it had approved the sale of the F-16 fighter aircraft, radar and electronic warfare equipment to Pakistan in a deal worth nearly US$700 million.
In New Delhi, the External Affairs Ministry in a statement said India was disappointed with the decision of the Obama administration to sell the fighter jets to Pakistan and its justification that it would help efforts to fight terrorism.
“We disagree with their rationale that such arms transfers help combat terrorism. The record of the last many years in this regard speaks for itself,” the statement said.
India is worried that arming Pakistan with advanced fighters jets would tilt the military balance in the region.
Washington believes Pakistan’s strategic location next to Afghanistan makes it a useful ally in the war against global terror despite Pakistan allowing many militant groups to operate out of its territory.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947. India has for decades accused Pakistan of harboring and supporting terrorist groups that regularly attack Indian targets. Relations have not fully thawed since a deadly 2008 attack on India’s financial hub, Mumbai, by Pakistan-based militants in which 166 people were killed.