United States: Biden-led administration in its recent move has finalized a decision to support Pakistan with USD 450 million F-16 fighter and related equipment support. India on the other hand has shown displeasure over this move by US via diplomatic channels to Washington.
Although, the US on its head has stated that it is meant to provide support to Pakistan in name of counter-terrorism.
The reports have mentioned that, as per lifetime F-16 fighter support contract with Pakistan, the actual reasons lie within the Rawalpindi Headquarters and with Army Chief General Qamar Jawed Bajwa.
While assuring its QUAD-ally India, Washington on its part mentioned India that the multi-million support will not going to make any impact on India or alter the military balance in Indian sub-continent.
On the other hand, it has become a matter of concern for Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government as it has let Biden-administration know about its views on whole issue as the fighters will be used against India like it were used earlier on February 27, 2019 as a retaliation to India’s Balakot strike on Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist camp a day earlier.
Meanwhile, multiple reports are coming up with different views and different reasons behind this support of F-16 fleet. Following are some of the reasons-
– General Bajwa has been instrumental in supplying ammunition in favour of Ukraine’s war effort against Pakistan’s newfound ally Russia using British aircraft.
– It is also a reward for the Pakistan Army led by General Bajwa for remaining neutral during the ouster of former PM Imran Khan Niazi, who once weaponized by same Army Chief to get rid of Nawaz Sharif during the last general elections. Niazi was in Moscow and met ally President of Russia, Vladimir Putin on February 24, the day Red Army invaded Ukraine.
– It is also US recognition for Gen Bajwa’s effort to calm down tempratures with India on Line of Control (LoC) with guns falling silent on the borders.
While reassuring its QUAD-ally India, Washington has clarified that support is only meant to maintain the F-16 fighters with Pakistan and not upgradation of army capabilities or fresh ordnance or air to air missiles.
Whereas, India is displeased with the clarification made out by the US Department to justify the foreign military sale for sustainment and related equipment for the fighters.
At the same time, several reports are coming up with their figures mentioning that Pakistan is looking for spare parts for its F-16 fleet as the Chinese JF-17 aircraft has come out as a cropper in terms of military. Even during the February 27, 2019 strike, the Pakistani F-16 fired missiles at intercepting Indian fighters with the JF-17 fighters playing no role in counter-offensive.
In justification on the support package to Pakistan, the official Pentagon has released a statement, that reads, “This will sustain Islamabad’s capability to meet the current and future counterterrorism threats by maintaining its F-16 fleet as well as support American foreign policy and national security objectives by permitting interoperability in ongoing counterterrorism efforts and in preparation for future contingency operations.”
As per one of the senior diplomat, “After this support, one would like to hear External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s answer to anybody coming up with the questions on India buying oil from Russia in context of Ukraine crisis.”
Several reports have added that, “US support for the F-16 program is not going to be the only sop for Rawalpindi as grounds are being ready to get Islamabad off the grey list of FATF. This is quite evident from Pakistani ploy of asking the Taliban regime to locate and nab JeM’s chief Masood Azhar in Afghanistan. This move is to accede to FATF demands that Pakistan act against Azhar and his terror factory, which is based in Bahawalpur in Punjab.”
Whereas the recent reports are coming up that Azhar has relocated to Kunar province of Afghanistan after the Taliban occupied Kabul on August 15, 2021.