8 December 2022

New Delhi : Ahead of a meeting with his US counterpart Antony Blinken, foreign minister S Jaishankar publicly expressed India’s displeasure over the $ 450 million sustainment package for Pakistan’s F – 16 fleet as he said Washing ton was ” not fooling anybody ” by claiming that the fighter jets were meant for counter terrorism purposes .

Not fooling anyone : Jaishankar
Not fooling anyone : Jaishankar

Jaishankar said the US ‘ relationship with Pakistan had not served the interests of either country . India had earlier registered a strong pro test with senior US officials over both substance and timing of the US decision , following which defence minister Rajnath Singh also expressed India’s concerns in a phone conversation with his counterpart Lloyd Austin .

” Very honestly , it’s a relationship that has neither end ed up serving Pakistan well , nor serving the American interests. So , it is really important for the United States to day to reflect on what are the merits of this relationship and what do they get by it , ‘ Jaishankar said in response to a question during an inter action with Indian – Americans . Jaishankar arrived in Washington Sunday after participating in the ongoing UNGA session . He is expected to meet Blinken and senior US officials over the next few days .

” You’re not fooling any body by saying these things , ” he added , when asked about US claims that the package was meant to facilitate Pakistan’s fight against terrorism .

The Biden administration had earlier this month ap proved a $ 450 million F – 16 fighter jet fleet sustainment programme for Pakistan , re versing the decision of the previous Trump administration to suspend military aid to Islamabad for providing safe havens for the Afghan Tali ban and the Haqqani net work . The decision was announced even while top US officials were in India for the 2 + 2 intersessional dialogue and also a mini Quad meeting .

In a notification to the US Congress , the state department made a determination approving a possible foreign military sale for sustainment and related equipment for an estimated cost of $ 450 mil lion , arguing that this will sustain Islamabad’s capability to meet current and future counterterrorism threats by maintaining its F – 16 fleet .

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