Washington: Reiterating that the sell of eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan was to help Islamabad in combating terrorism, the Pentagon on Tuesday said that the Barack Obama administration's decision 'should not be a cause of concern for India as the regional security situation was taken into account at the time of sale'.
"We don't think it should cause concern for India," Peter Cook, Pentagon Press Secretary, said on Tuesday while responding to questions on India's disappointment over sale of eight F-16s to Pakistan.
"This sale always took into account the regional security situation. We look at our relationship with Pakistan and our relationship with India as separate relationships. We think this is important capabilities for the Pakistanis to go after terrorists in that country," Cook added.
The Obama administration had last week said decided to sell eight nuclear-capable F-16 fighter jets worth nearly USD 700 million to Pakistan despite mounting opposition from influential lawmakers from both the Republican and Democratic parties.
"We think this is a capability that will help Pakistan in its counterterrorism effort and we think that's in the national security interests of the United States," he said.
India summoned US Ambassador Richard Verma to convey its "displeasure and disappointment" over the decision.
India disagreed with the US' rationale that such arms transfers help Pakistan in combating terrorism and believes the US military aid to Pakistan goes into anti-India activities.
These additional F-16 aircraft will facilitate operations in all-weather, non-daylight environments, provide a self- defence/area suppression capability, and enhance Pakistan's ability to conduct counter-insurgency and counter terrorism operations, the Pentagon had said.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration has moved for Congressional approval for financing the deal under the country's Foreign Military Financing (FMF) scheme. The administration has proposed to pay the bulk of the $699 million cost of the deal while Pakistan is required to pay $200 million.
With PTI Inputs