After Jaishankar's 'not fooling anybody' jab, US responds on F-16 aid to Pak

Sep 27, 2022 03:47 PM IST

Pakistan F-16 fighter jet aid: United States recently provided Pakistan with a $450 million package that Pentagon called a 'F-16 case for sustainment and related equipment'.

The United States defended itself Tuesday from foreign minister S Jaishankar's sharp attack over support for Pakistan's F-16 fighter jets, saying it did not view its relationship with Delhi and Islamabad 'in relation to one another'.

An F-16 fighter jet (File image)
An F-16 fighter jet (File image)

"We don't view our relationship with Pakistan... our relationship with India... in relation to one another... both partners of ours with different points of emphasis..." state department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters.

"We look to both as partners, because we do have in many cases shared values. We do have in many cases shared interests. And the relationship we have with India stands on its own. The relationship we have with Pakistan stands on its own," he said.

On Sunday, Jaishankar called on the US to reflect on its relationship with Pakistan, observing it 'is not fooling anyone' by claiming support for Pak's F-16 was meant for counterterrorism.

"At the end of the day... to say I am doing it for 'counterterrorism'... you are talking of an aircraft of the capability of a F-16 (and) everyone knows where they are deployed. You are not fooling anybody by saying these things," he said.

READ | 'Not fooling anyone': Jaishankar on US support for Pakistan F-16s

The United States recently provided Pakistan with a $450 million package that Pentagon called a 'F-16 case for sustainment and related equipment'. The nomenclature aside, that was the first major military deal with Pak since the Trump administration stopped aid in 2018.

Trump did so after saying Islamabad had not acted on terror groups on its soil.

Pakistan has a sizeable F-16 fleet but depends on the US for support.

READ | US military aid to Pakistan for F-16 fighters raises alarm in India

The $450 million does not include, Washington said, upgrades to aircraft capability or weapons, but support for a fighter used against India after the 2019 Balakot air strikes raised eyebrows in Delhi.

India expressed its displeasure via diplomatic channels and defence minister Rajnath Singh also conveyed concerns to the United States.

Meanwhile, Jaishankar - speaking at a community event in Washington, D.C. - was also forthright in his assessment of US-Pak ties.

"Very honestly, it is a relationship that has ended up serving neither Pakistan nor serving American interests well... for the US to reflect what the merits of the relationship [are] and what they get by keeping it sort of continuing."

With input from ANI, PTI

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    Chandrashekar is a Senior Editor at Hindustan Times. A journalist with 11+ years across print and digital media, he also has degrees in Sociology and Economics. He has worked in the political, business, sports, and entertainment news spaces, but is happiest just watching football.

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