Pakistan expresses concern over India’s growing military power

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Islamabad | Published: May 3, 2016 4:07:05 PM

Sartaj Aziz said that if India's growing military power was not checked, Pakistan will be "forced to increase its strategic power" too.

Sartaj Aziz“The international community should avoid steps which may disturb the strategic balance in South Asia,” Aziz warned. (Reuters Photo)

A top Pakistani foreign affairs advisor on Tuesday expressed deep concern over India’s growing military power, media reported.

Adviser to prime minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that if India’s growing military power was not checked, Pakistan will be “forced to increase its strategic power” too, Dawn online reported.

“The international community should avoid steps which may disturb the strategic balance in South Asia,” Aziz warned.

On the issue of the F-16 deal with US, Sartaj Aziz warned Pakistan will acquire fighter jets from elsewhere if America does not arrange funding for the sale.

Pakistan had earlier reached an understanding with the US for buying eight F-16 jets. Under the deal, Pakistan was required to pay about $270 million from its national fund. The US was supposed to provide the rest from its Foreign Military Financing Fund.

But at a congressional hearing, US lawmakers last Wednesday made it clear that they would not allow the Obama administration to use US funds for the deal. Now, the Obama administration has asked Pakistan to “put forward” its “national funds” to buy the F-16 fighter jets as some top American Senators have put a hold on use of the US tax payers’ money for this purpose.

“While Congress has approved the sale, key members have made clear that they object to using FMF (foreign military financing) to support it. Given Congressional objections, we have told the Pakistanis that they should put forward national funds for that purpose,” US State Department spokesman John Kirby said. Kirby, however, did not say when this decision was taken and when was it communicated to Pakistan.

Aziz said Pakistan valued the F-16s for their effectiveness, but said that they could be replaced by JF-17 Thunder jets in its anti-terrorism campaign, Dawn reported.

The JF-17 Thunder fighter jet has been jointly developed by China’s Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and its Pakistani partner, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC).

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