The flip flop by the Obama administration needed to be reigned in quick. And what better way to show US its place than by asking it to choose between doling out alms to Pakistan in the form of F-16s in the guise of fighting terrorism or seeing its companies lose the lucrative $10 billion 126 aircraft deal floated by India.
It must be quite idiotic of the Obama administration to even believe that F-16 fighter planes that the Pak government is demanding will be used against some Taliban militants in the Af-Pak border. Though i respect the fact that Pakistan is a sovereign nation and that its right to have military deals with any country shouldn’t be complained against as long as they don’t breach the international laws. The same right for India to play the carrot and stick policy with the seller (USA) should be complained against either.
While Pakistan may have pitched hard with the US for early transfer of F-16 fighter aircraft and other sophisticated military equipment, a concerned India is learnt to have raised the stakes by indicating to the US that such a transfer may not go down well at a time when two US companies are bidding for the 126 multi-role combat aircraft tender floated by India.
This $10 billion-plus tender is considered one of the biggest international military contracts in the world now. At present, six companies are in the fray: F-16 from Lockheed Martin (US), Boeing’s F-18 SH (US), Eurofighter from a European consortium, the Rafale from France, the Swedish Gripen, and Russian Mig-35.
Most trials are over with the IAF planning to shortlist contenders on the basis of their performance in the next few months.
Pakistan has been in negotiations with the US on obtaining 18 F-16s for the past few years. However, this has been riddled by fears of it being used only to strengthen its military capabilities against India and not justifiably needed in the war against terror.
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