Pakistan may have to pay $700m for 8 F-16s as US scraps subsidy: Report
New Delhi: Pakistan may have to foot the entire bill of $700 million for eight fighter jets it is vying to purchase from United States as the Obama administration has blocked any sort of aid for the deal.
The State Department official told BBC Hindi on condition of anonymity that the Obama administration still wants to go ahead with the deal but no American funds could be used for it.
The administration was forced not to provide any assistance for the sale because of a hold placed by Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
According to a notification from the state department last year, the sale of the eight F-16s was originally envisaged under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme. The US has provided considerable assistance in past FMS sales to Pakistan.
Besides, there is also a hold on the $742 million in aid for Pakistan that was proposed to Congress by the US administration.
Earlier this year, Corker had questioned Islamabad’s role in the fight against terrorism and opposed the use of taxpayers’ money to subsidize the F-16s for Pakistan, citing Islamabad’s relationship with the Haqqani network, a militant group known for targeting U.S.-trained security forces in neighboring Afghanistan.
New Delhi accuses Pakistan of harboring and aiding terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad that have launched attacks in India, including one in Mumbai in 2008 in which 166 people died.
The US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Olson, strongly defended the decision by saying the deal is in the best interests of the US. “The Pakistanis have developed a precision strike capability that they use in the F-16s they have right now to take out targets,” he said.