In the first major security assistance to Pakistan since 2018, the Biden administration approved an F-16 fleet sustainment programme to Lahore, which is worth $450 million.
Arguing that this will sustain Islamabad’s capability to meet current and future counterterrorism threats, the State Department has made a determination to approve a possible foreign military sale of the F-16 case for sustainment and related equipment.
According to a State Department spokesperson, ”Pakistan is an important counterterrorism partner, and as part of longstanding policy, the United States provides life cycle maintenance and sustainment packages for US-origin platforms.”
Calling Lockheed Martin Corp the principal contractor of the sale, the Pentagon added it will help Pakistan counter terrorism threats.
Alleging that Islamabad was not a partner in its fight against terrorism, former US President Donald Trump halted all defence and security assistance to Pakistan in 2018.
By allowing Pakistan to retain interoperability with the US, this proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of Washington, according to Pentagon.
Without altering the basic military balance in the region, the proposed sale will greatly improve Pakistan’s ability to support counterterrorism operations through its robust air-to-ground capability, as per notification to the US Congress.
(With inputs from agencies)
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