US approves sales to support Pak's F-16 fighter jets
The United States has notified the Congress of its decision to approve foreign military sales worth USD 125 million to support the F-16 fighter jets of Pakistan. This came days after President Donald Trump met Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. The determination in this regard was made by the State Department and is the first after all security aid to Pakistan was suspended by Trump in January 2018.
"The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Pakistan for Technical Security Team (TST) in continued support of the F-16 program for an estimated cost of USD 125 million," the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement.
Khan met Trump in his Oval Office on Monday. Both sides had declared the meeting as highly successful. The Pentagon delivered the required certification notifying the Congress of this possible sale on Friday.
According to the statement, Pakistan had requested a continuation of technical support services -- US government and contractor technical and logistics support services -- and other related elements of logistics support to assist in the oversight of operations in support of the Pakistan Peace Drive advanced F-16 programme.
Pakistan has always used F-16 against India, the latest being in the aftermath of the Balakot airstrike inside Pakistan by India.
In its notification, the Pentagon asserted that the proposed sale of this support will not alter the basic military balance in the region. The proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the US by protecting American technology through the continued presence of US personnel that provide 24x7 end-use monitoring.
"Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of 60 contractor representatives to Pakistan to assist in the oversight of operations as part of the Peace Drive F-16 program," the statement said.