US approves military sales worth USD 125 mn to Pakistan for F-16 fighter jets’ monitoring

Days after the meeting between President Donald Trump and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Pentagon has notified the Congress of its decision to approve military sales worth USD 125 million that would result in the monitoring of the F-16 fighter jets of Pakistan.
Essentially there is no change in the US policy on the security aid to Pakistan which is currently under freeze.
“The Pentagon notification does not reflect any resumption of military assistance to Pakistan. USD 125 million is a paltry amount for aircraft and is only for 24×7 monitoring of the fighter jets,” a diplomatic source told PTI.
This is under the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) which means Pakistan will pay for it. No US tax payers’ money is involved. And this money will essentially be used to pay salary to 60 US contractors to monitor the use of F-16 jets in Pakistan, the source said.
According to a state department official, there has been no change to the security assistance suspension announced by the president in January 2018.
“As the president reiterated this week, we could consider the restoration of certain security assistance programmes consistent with the broader tenor of our relationship,” the official said.
The notification was sent by the Pentagon to the Congress on Friday.
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by protecting American technology through the continued presence of US personnel that provide 24×7 end-use monitoring,” he said.
“The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Pakistan for Technical Security Team (TST) in continued support of the F-16 programme for an estimated cost of USD 125 million,” Defence Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement.
According to the statement, Pakistan had requested a continuation of technical support services-the US government and contractor technical and logistics support services-and other related elements of logistics support to assist in the oversight of operations in support of the Pakistan Peace Drive advanced F-16 programme.
Pakistan has used the F-16 fighter jets against India, the latest being in the aftermath of the Balakot airstrike inside Pakistan by India.
The Pentagon asserted that the proposed sale of this support will not alter the basic military balance in the region. (PTI)