Ned Price calls Pakistan ‘important US partner’; discusses proposed F-16 equipment deal between two countries

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Pakistan US F-16

Washington: “Strong objections” raised by India regarding a proposed Foreign Military Sales (FMS) worth $450 million for hardware, software, and spares for the F-16 fighter jet program to Pakistan were disregarded by the Biden administration as it called Pakistan “an important counterterrorism partner”.

During a press briefing on Tuesday, US Department of State spokesperson Ned Price was asked to comment on the deal.

Price said that the US military sales worth $450 million for the upgrade of the fighter jets to Pakistan were part of the country’s long-standing policy as it provides life cycle maintenance and sustainment packages for defence sales.

Referring to Pakistan’s F-16 program, Price said it was an important part of the broader US-Pakistan bilateral relationship.

This proposed sale will sustain Pakistan’s capability to meet current and future counterterrorism threats by maintaining the fleet. This is a fleet that allows Pakistan to support counterterrorism operations,” he added.

Ned Price further hoped Pakistan would take sustained action against all terrorist groups.

Meanwhile, US Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu, while addressing the objections raised by India, said in a statement that this is a safety and maintenance program. 

“There is no new aircraft being considered, no new capability, and no new weapons system,” he added.

US approves possible sale of F-16 equipment to Pakistan

On Wednesday last week, the US Department of State approved a potential sale of F-16 aircraft sustainment and related equipment to Pakistan in a deal valued at up to $450 million, the Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a statement.

“The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Pakistan of F-16 Case for Sustainment and related equipment for an estimated cost of $450 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today,” the statement read.

However, the proposed sale does not include any new capabilities, weapons, or munitions.

It said that the Government of Pakistan requested to consolidate prior F-16 sustainment and support cases “to support the Pakistan Air Force F-16 fleet by reducing duplicate case activities and adding additional continued support elements”.

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