Military aid to Pak a concern: India to US
Force chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik on Tuesday flagged concerns over surging American arms sales to Pakistan.delhi Updated: Mar 31, 2010 00:58 IST
Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik on Tuesday flagged concerns over surging American arms sales to Pakistan.
Shortly after taking over as Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, from outgoing army chief General Deepak Kapoor, Naik said, “The aid being given to Pakistan is definitely a matter of concern for us and we have made it known.”
From fighter jets, howitzers, smart bombs to missiles, the flood of sophisticated military hardware pouring into Pakistan has sparked worries that Islamabad is shoring up conventional capabilities against India in the guise of fighting terrorism.
Troubled by Pentagon’s stepped up military aid, Defence Minister A K Antony had earlier asked Washington to ensure that Pakistan was using military aid only to fight Al-Qaida and Taliban terrorists.
Antony’s comments in early March followed Pentagon’s decision to transfer 18 F-16 fighter planes, a dozen US-made surveillance drones and laser-guided bomb kits capable of converting traditional munitions into smart bombs.
The US has almost doubled its counterinsurgency assistance fund to Pakistan to $1.2 billion for 2011.
Asked if Pentagon’s sales could derail the chances of US firms competing for the air force’s $10.2 billion (Rs 45,900 crore) tender for 126 fighter planes, he said, “The fighter deal will be a fair and square assessment. We’ll wrap up the trials by April-end. There’s no connection between the two...”
Naik reignited the debate to appoint a chief of defence staff (CDS) a single-point military advisor to the government. “I believe there should be a CDS. As to what model we should adopt needs to be studied.”