Disagree with US rationale to sell F-16s to Pakistan: India

New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) India on Thursday termed the US supply of F-16 aircraft to Pakistan as “unfortunate” and said it disagreed with the rationale that the fighter jets will be used to fight terrorism.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup, however, said that ties with the US were not “single-issue relationship”.

Answering questions from media persons here, Swarup said India’s concerns on the issue were frankly conveyed by Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar to the US Ambassador Richard Verma.

“Obviously, this decision of the US is very unfortunate and it will certainly convey a negative sentiment and I do not see that you know make this a single point agenda with the US.

“We have said that we are concerned and we do not agree with their rationale. They are saying that the F-16s will be used to fight terrorism.. We do not agree with this rationale,” he said.

The Pentagon had said on Tuesday that the supply of additional F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan had taken into account the regional security situation. It had also said that the US looked at its relationships with Pakistan and India as separate and the capability will help Islamabad in its counter-terrorism effort.

India had last week summoned the US ambassador to lodge its strong protest against the move by the Obama administration to sell eight F-16 Block-52 aircraft worth $699 million to Pakistan in the face of US lawmakers’ opposition to the deal over Islamabad’s alleged support for terrorist groups.

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