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U.S. Approves Sale Of F-16 Fighter Jets To Pakistan; India Objects

U.S. -- A F16 fighter, 2003
U.S. -- A F16 fighter, 2003

The United States approved the sale of eight Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, along with training, radar and other equipment.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which coordinates such foreign arms sales, said it informed Congress of the planned sales, worth $699 million, on February 12.

The agency said the sales would "improve the security of a strategic partner in South Asia."

The F-16 aircraft would allow Pakistan's Air Force to operate at night and in all kinds of weather, while "enhancing Pakistan's ability to conduct counter-insurgency and counterterrorism operations," the agency said.

Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said on Twitter that Pakistan's regional rival is "disappointed" by the proposed sales.

"We disagree with their rationale that such arms transfers help to combat terrorism."

He said India will summon the U.S. ambassador "to convey our displeasure."

The U.S. defense agency said, however, that the sales would "not alter the basic military balance in the region."

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP