US ambassador to India Richard Verma on Sunday described the controversial sale of F-16 aircraft to Pakistan as “part of a legacy announcement”, saying America expects Islamabad to do ‘much more’ on eliminating terror safe havens there.
“It’s part of a bit of a legacy announcement that is made several years ago. There are technical processes like the Congressional ratification,” Verma said during an interaction at the CNN Asia Business Forum organised as part of the ongoing ‘Make in India Week’ here.
“Our policy in Pakistan is to support the moderate elements, to support democracy.
“There is a big counter-terrorism insurgency component as well. Over the years our assistance to Pakistan has been a mix of both civilian and military equipment,” he said.
Verma’s comments came a day after the Obama administration notified the US Congress of its decision to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan worth nearly US $700 million.
Reacting strongly India on Saturday summoned Verma to convey its “displeasure and disappointment” over the Obama administration’s decision to sell F-16 jets to Pakistan.
“It will surprise people that two-thirds of our aid to Pakistan is civilian aid...for energy, education, infrastructure and public development,” he added.
“There are also dangerous groups operating in Pakistan and military tools are required. It is part and parcel of why this sale went through, to tackle...that kind of terrorism and insurgency capability”, the Envoy said.