Despite India’s objections to the agreement, US State Secretary Antony Blinken committed on Tuesday to a $450 million F-16 sustainment deal with Pakistan, stressing that the deal with Islamabad is for counter-terrorism.
Blinken said that Pakistan’s program bolsters its capability to deal with terrorist threats emanating from the country itself and from the region, noting that no one gains if those threats go forward with impunity.
While hosting Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar at the State Department, Blinken pointed out that the approved deal – the largest arms package the US has approved to Islamabad since 2018- is a sustainment program for F-16 jets that Pakistan already has, not for new planes or new weapons.
The Biden administration approved the multimillion-dollar package to maintain and upgrade Pakistan’s F-16 fighter jets this month.
Jaishankar, however, cast doubt over Biden’s counter-terrorism claims, blasting the deal before his meeting with the US State Secretary.
Speaking at a meeting with members of the Indian American community on Sunday, Jaishankar said that no one’s fooled by those claims knowing everyone knows where an aircraft of the capability of a F-16 is deployed.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon informed on Tuesday that the State Department has approved the $250 million worth potential sale of operational and training rounds for M1A2 Abrams tanks to Kuwait.
The prime contractor for the proposed sale was General Dynamics Corp.
According to Pentagon, the proposed sale made at Kuwait’s request would improve the country’s ability to meet current and future regional threats, deter and defend against land-based threats, and protect key land-based infrastructure and border regions.
The US Congress was notified of the possible sale on Tuesday by the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency which stressed that the proposed sale would not have any adverse impact on US defense readiness nor will require the assignment of any additional US government or contractor representatives to Kuwait.
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