US approves sales to support Pakistan’s F-16 fighter jets

Washington: The US has officially approved military sales worth $125 million that would result in 24×7 end-use monitoring of the F-16 fighter jets of Pakistan. This came just days after the meeting between President Donald Trump and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

US officials stressed that the freeze in security assistance to Pakistan on Trump’s direction since January 2018 was still in place. They also added that the latest decision would help it in 24×7 end-use monitoring of the F-16 fighter jets in that country as this would require the assignment of 60 contractor representatives there to assist in the oversight of the F-16 programme.

“There has been no change to the security assistance suspension announced by the President in January 2018. As the president reiterated this week, we could consider the restoration of certain security assistance programmes consistent with the broader tenor of our relationship,” a state department spokesperson told PTI.

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He referred to the notification sent in this regard by the Pentagon to the Congress on Friday.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by protecting American technology through the continued presence of US personnel that provide 24×7 end-user monitoring,” he added.

Pakistan has previously used the F-16 fighter jets against India. In latest Balakot airstrike, India produced proof of Pakistan using F-16 against India.

In its notification, the Pentagon asserted that the proposed sale of this support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

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