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US delivers new helicopters to Pakistan

world Updated: May 18, 2010 19:20 IST

The US delivered two helicopters to Pakistan on Tuesday to help the Pakistan Army in its counter-insurgency efforts, the US embassy said.

US Army officer Brig. Gen. Michael Nagata handed over two Bell 412 EP helicopters to Brig. Gen. Tippu Karim, commander of Pakistan's 101 Army Aviation, at a ceremony at Qasim Army Air Base, Xinhua quoted an embassy spokesman as saying.

The US recently purchased the two enhanced-performance utility helicopters, valued at $24 million, to assist Pakistan anti-insurgency operations. It also provided $20 million in spare parts, tools and other equipment for the helicopters.

"The purchase of the aircraft demonstrates the US' full commitment to a stable, long-term strategic partnership with Pakistan, one based on shared interests and mutual respect that will continue to expand and deepen in future years," Nagata was quoted as saying.

During the last three years, US civilian and security assistance to Pakistan has totalled more than $4 billion, the spokesman said. The assistance includes medical aid, school refurbishment, bridge reconstruction, food distribution and agricultural and education projects.

The US also provided Pakistan 14 F-16 fighter aircrafts, 10 Mi-17 helicopters, over 450 vehicles for paramilitary troops, night vision goggles, radio sets, protective vests and first-aid items, the spokesman said, adding that 370 Pakistan army officers have also been trained on leadership and development programmes including counter-terrorism, intelligence, logistics, medical, flight safety, and military law.