US to sell F-16 fighter planes to Pakistan

Oct 23, 2015, 09:09 IST | Agencies

To strengthen military ties with Pak, Obama administration will sell 8 fighter jets, despite an announcement by Pak PM that they will not comply with US’ request to limit its potential use of nuclear weapons

Washington: The US is planning to sell eight new F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan though it is unclear if the Congress will agree to the deal amid concerns among lawmakers whether the advanced aircraft would be used against India than for counter-terrorism.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and US Secretary of State John Kerry in a meeting in Washington on Wednesday. Pic/PTI
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and US Secretary of State John Kerry in a meeting in Washington on Wednesday. Pic/PTI

According to a local media report, the Congress was notified about the proposed sale of F-16s just days ahead of the Oval Office meeting between US President Barack Obama and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

At the same time, the report said that many in the Congress fear that F-16 jets are more useful to Pakistan in its long confrontation with India than for counter-terrorism.

More power to you!
The new F-16s would add to Pakistan’s sizeable force of fighter jets, which include more than 70 F-16s and dozens of French and Chinese attack aircraft. The report, however, added “it is unclear if Congress will approve the deal”.

Earlier in April, the US State Department approved Pakistan’s request for a billion dollars worth of military hardware and equipment, identifying Pakistan as a country of vital importance for US foreign policy and national interests.

Friends with benefits?
By deciding to sell F-16 jets to Pakistan, the Obama Administration has ignored concerns about Islamabad’s “ties to elements of the Taliban and quickly expanding nuclear arsenal” with the hope that such a move would “bolster” a tenuous partnership.

Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported that in May this year, the US handed over to Pakistan over 14 combat aircraft, 59 military trainer jets and 374 armoured personnel carriers. The weapons supplied to Pakistan were earlier used by American forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

No Nuke deal
Sharif has formally announced on Wednesday that they are making of India-centric low-yield nuclear weapons. Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aziaz Chaudhry also said that they had made nuke weapon in response to India’s cold-start doctrine.

It was the first time that a senior Pakistani official gave an explanation of the country’s decision to make tactical nuclear weapons. Chaudhry also said that Pakistan would not sign any nuclear deal with the US.

Pak has 110 to 130 nukes: US report
Pakistan has a nuclear weapon stockpile of 110 to 130 warheads, a rise from an estimated 90 to 110 in 2011.

“Pakistan has a nuclear weapons stockpile of 110 to 130 warheads, an increase from an estimated 90 to 110 warheads in 2011,” said a report by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists released during the ongoing visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Based on Pakistan’s performance over the past 20 years and its current and anticipated weapons deployments, the authors estimate that its stockpile could realistically grow to 220 to 250 warheads by 2025, making it the world's fifth largest nuclear weapon state, the report reiterated.

The number of nuclear weapons expected to be in Pakistan’s stockpile by 2025

The estimated number of F-16 jets already in Pak force

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