US Approves F-16 Sale to Pakistan

The State Department on Feb. 12 approved the foreign military sale of eight F-16s to Pakistan, a move that Pentagon officials say should not concern India. The approved sale, at a cost of $699 million, includes eight Block 52 F-16s—two C and six D models—with F100-PW-229 engines, along with 14 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems. The sale also includes eight AN/APG-68 radars and eight ALQ-211(V)9 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites. The sale “improves Pakistan’s capability to meet current and future security threats,” according to a Defense Security Cooperation Agency release. Following the sale, India’s External Affairs Ministry said the sale would not help combat terrorism, according to The Associated Press. Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said on Tuesday the approval of the sale took into account the regional security situation, and that helping Pakistan fight terrorism with the aircraft is in the national security interest of the United States. “We think this is [an] important capability for the Pakistanis to go after terrorists in that country,” Cook said. “And, as a result, we don’t think it should cause concern for India.”