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India concerned about US military aid for Pakistan — Analysis

Pakistan’s F-16s have clashed with Indian jets in the skies over Kashmir in recent years

Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said that he raised concerns about a recent US maintenance package for Pakistan’s F-16 fighter jets during a call with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Wednesday.

Singh stated that he has a “warm and productive”Austin and he called him to discuss their mutual strategic interests, defense and security cooperation and other matters. He also stated that he “conveyed India’s concern at the recent US decision to provide [a] sustenance package for Pakistan’s F-16 fleet.”

Ned Price, spokesperson of the US State Department, announced last week that $450 million worth of US products would be sold. “maintenance and sustainment services” to Islamabad to extend the lifespan of the Pakistani Air Force’s roughly 85 American-made F-16s. The jets, which were initially delivered to Pakistan in multiple tranches in 1983, are now being fielded in Pakistan alongside the French Dassault Mirage and J-10 combat aircraft.

According to Price, the sale would be “sustain Pakistan’s capability to meet current and future counterterrorism threats.” However, Pakistan has long been accused of facilitating terrorism, and the Trump administration in 2018 suspended several military aid packages to Islamabad totaling nearly $2 billion, over the Pakistani government’s alleged failure to clamp down on the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani Network terrorist groups.

Pakistan and India were at war on 4 occasions, each since 1947 when British India was partitioned. Both sides have also been involved in many standoffs along the border. Pakistani fighter jets captured and shot down an Indian MiG-21 aircraft in an attack on an Indian terrorist training center on Pakistani territory. India then claimed that it shot down one of Pakistan’s F-16s, which Pakistan denies.

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