US F-16 sale to Pakistan: Obama administration blocks American funds for purchase?
The US administration has taken this step following directions from the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations which has the authority to withhold the funds.
New Delhi: After India's strong objection to the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, the US administration has reportedly decided to withold the funds that it had earmarked (as a subsidy) for Pakistan's purchase.
“The Obama administration is still willing to sell the jets to Pakistan, but will not contribute US funds towards the deal,” Dawn reported citing a BBC Urdu report on Friday.
According to the report, the US administration has taken this step following directions from the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations which has the authority to dispense or withhold the funds.
After this decision, Islamabad may have to foot the bill of $700 million for the eight fighter jets, the BBC report quoted a State Department official as saying.
According to an earlier deal reached between Washington and Islamabad, “Pakistan would have paid $270 million while the US would grant the remaining $430 million for the purchase.”
The report further said that a sum of $742 million earmarked for American military aid to Pakistan in the 2016-2017 budget has also been put on hold.
The report, however, said that the decision is not final and the Obama administration is still under consultation with the Congress in this regard.
"The sale of weapons is a long process and we cannot comment on such unique circumstances at this time," Nadeem Hotiana, spokesperson for the Pakistan embassy in Washington, was quoted as saying.
The F-16 sale to Pakistanb had faced stiff resistance in the US Congress earlier this year, when lawmakers moved resolutions seeking to block the sale.
Some US lawmakers are of the opinion that the sale of F-16s to Pakistan would assist counter-terrorism operations in the restive country.
India as well as some US lawmakers, have rejected this claim and said that the F-16s will not been useful in such operations and would ultimately be used against India.