Pakistan rejects Indian objection at US deal

F-16_2464777bISLAMABAD, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) — Pakistan on Sunday rejected Indian criticism at the U.S. decision to sell eight F-16 fighter planes to the country.

India summoned U.S. Ambassador Richard Verma in New Delhi on Saturday to express the country’s ‘displeasure’ over the possible sale of the planes to Pakistan.

On Friday the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama notified the Congress that it planned to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, valued at 699 million U.S. dollars. In addition to eight F-16s, the deal also includes the sale of radars and other military equipment, reports said.

“We are surprised and disappointed at the Indian Government’s reaction. Their army and arsenal stock is much larger and they are the largest importer of defence equipment,” the Pakistan Foreign Ministry said.

“As regards F-16 sale, Pakistan and the United States closely cooperate in countering terrorism,” the Foreign Ministry spokesman said in response to media queries over Indian reaction to U.S. decision on F-16 sale.

He said the U.S. spokesperson has clearly announced that the sale is to enhance precision strike capability.

Earlier the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement that India was “disappointed at the decision of the Obama administration to notify the sale of F-16 aircraft to Pakistan.”

Rejecting the U.S. State Department’s contention that the sale of fighter jets was in the U.S.’ “vital national security interests” as it helped Pakistan fight terror groups, the Indian Foreign Ministry said, “We disagree with their rationale that such arms transfers help to combat terrorism. The record of the last many years in this regard speaks for itself.”

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