Rajnath conveys to Austin India’s concern over U.S. F-16 refit package for Pakistan

NEW DELHI, Sept 14: India on Wednesday conveyed its concern over the recent U.S. approval of a $450-million sustenance package for Pakistan’s F-16 fighter fleet. This was conveyed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during a telephonic conversation with the U.S. Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin. This is the first official response from India on this issue.
“I conveyed India’s concern at the recent U.S. decision to provide sustenance package for Pakistan’s F-16 fleet,” Mr. Singh said on Twitter. “Had a warm and productive conversation with Mr. Austin and … discussed growing convergence of strategic interests and enhanced defence and security cooperation.”
Stating that they also discussed ways to strengthen technological and industrial collaboration and also explore cooperation in emerging and critical technologies, Mr. Singh added, “Look forward to continuing dialogue with Secretary Austin to further consolidating India-U.S. partnership.”
On September 7, the Defence Security Cooperation Agency notified a possible Foreign Military Sales (FMS) worth $450 million for engine, electronic warfare and other hardware and software upgrades and spares for the F-16 fighter jet programme with Pakistan. It also said that the proposed sale does not include any new capabilities, weapons, or munitions. (Agencies)