India has expressed its concerns with the US on its decision to provide a sustenance package for the F-16 fleet of Pakistan Air Force.
During his telephonic conversation with US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin, defence minister Rajnath Singh expressed India’s concern. The minister announced this on his twitter handle and the Ministry of Defence issued an official statement regarding the same.
On his twitter handle the minister wrote that he had a warm and productive telephonic conversation with the US Secretary of Defence. The two talked about growing convergence of strategic interests, enhanced security and defence cooperation.
Both sides also talked about ways to deepen technological and industrial collaboration. And “to explore cooperation in emerging and critical technologies,” Singh wrote on his social media handle.
According to the Ministry of Defence, Secretary Austin, while expressing his support for India’s defence modernisation programme, was keen on strengthening defence industrial and technology collaboration between the two countries.
Ahead of the next round of 2+2 ministerial Dialogue in 2023, during the conversation the two reiterated to continue their productive engagements for deepening the India-US Strategic Partnership.
Last week, the Biden administration approved a US$ 450 million F-16 fighter jet fleet sustainment programme to Pakistan and has said that the fighter aircraft programme is an important part of a broader US-Pakistan bilateral relationship.
While defending its decision, the Biden administration said that this fleet will help Pakistan to support its counter terrorism operations.
In a recent meeting with US Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu, India had registered its protest against the US decision to sell spares to Pakistan. India has stated that this technology will be used against it.
It has been reported earlier that India has been accusing Pakistan of funneling US towards its proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan has also been fomenting terrorism in the region and had openly used its F-16 jets against India in the aerial dogfight after the Pulwama attack.