The Obama administration is warming up to sell eight new F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan. This as statement came from senior American officials. This proposal is intended to strengthen a tenuous partnership between two countries Pakistan and the US.
The decision comes before of President Obama’s meeting on Thursday with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Obama is trying to balance pressure on Pakistan with signs that Washington still considers it a vital ally. In the same effort, Congress was notified just days ago about the proposed sale of the additional fighters.
The new aircraft, whose sale could be blocked by Congress, would add to Pakistan’s already sizable force of fighter jets. The Pakistan Air Force has more than 70 F-16s and hundreds of French and Chinese origin attack aircraft. The new possible deal will give symbolic value to a non-Nato Ally whose relationship with the United States has been marked by long stretches of acrimony in recent years.
The NYT report says that many in the US Congress are concerned that the F-16 jets are more useful to Pakistan in its long confrontation with India than for counterterrorism operations.
The meeting of Nawaz and Obama comes as the White House increasingly shifts its focus in South Asia to Pakistan’s rival India