Islamabad: While the United States cleared billions of dollars’ worth arms sales to Pakistan for the war on terror, it denied the sale of an advanced missile technology to Islamabad over concerns that it could be used to target India.
A request by Islamabad to procure an advanced Harpoon missile system was turned down in 2009 after Washington determined that it would threaten India, US diplomatic cables unveiled by whistle-blower website WikiLeaks have revealed.
In a cable dated March 18, 2009, the then US Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne W Patterson, justified the sale of F 16 fighters to Islamabad, holding that it was not a threat since India had an overwhelming aerial superiority, and went on to say that Washington has occasionally denied “Pakistani requests for arms sales that could upset the regional balance of power”.
As an example, the cable quoted a decision taken in February 2009 for turning down Pakistan’s request for the advanced Harpoon missile system.
The reason given for the refusal was that the new system would enable Pakistan to target the Indian coastline and would not have any use in the war against terrorism, The Nation reports.
“We have and will deny arms sales that we believe would upset the regional balance of power, as we have with the recent GOP [Government of Pakistan] request to buy the Coastal Targeting Suppression System, which enables Harpoon missiles to be fired at land or near-land targets using GPS technology,” the cable said.
The cable goes on to say that this “acquisition would have given Pakistan an overt offensive capability to threaten India and served no COIN (Counter Insurgency) purpose.”