'We try to be a trusted partner of India', says US Defence Secy

Updated 13 Apr 2016


US Defense Secretary Ash Carter. ─ AP/File
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter. ─ AP/File

NEW DELHI: United States (US) Defence Secretary Ashton Carter on Tuesday, while agreeing "in principle" to share military logistics with India, said at a joint press conference alongside Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar that the US' efforts in Pakistan are "directed towards counter-terrorism", Times of India reported.

When Parrikar was asked if the US was trying to ally with India while supplying F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, Carter said the US had given "unique technologies" to India. "We don't have an agreement like that with other countries."

Carter told Parrikar that an F-16 deal was cemented with Pakistan in order to fight militancy. "What we do in Pakistan is directed towards counter-terrorism," he said. However, the US tries to be "a trusted partner of India", Carter said.

Earlier this year, the US approved a $700m sale of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, to which India strongly objected. The sale was made in order to improve Pakistan’s precision strike capability, the US said.

A 'disappointed' India summoned US envoy in New Delhi, Richard Verma, over the Obama administration's decision to sell eight Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, along with training, radar and other equipment.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner in February said it was in "vital national security interests to support Pakistan in carrying out its efforts to destroy these terrorist networks", terming it "an important partner in the region".

The F-16 aircraft will allow the Pakistan Air Force to operate in all kinds of weather, at night, as well as "enhance Pakistan's ability to conduct counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations," the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency, which coordinates such foreign arms sales, said in an earlier statement.

The aircraft will add to Pakistan’s sizeable force of fighter jets which includes more than 70 F-16s and dozens of French and Chinese attack aircraft, the report said.

Earlier in april, the US Navy awarded a $170 million contract for the manufacture of nine AH-1Z Viper Attack Helicopters to Bell Helicopter. The combat helicopters will be manufactured and delivered to Pakistan under the Foreign Military Sales Program.

The US' Foreign Military Funding (FMF) to Pakistan will focus on seven priority areas "identified and agreed to with the government of Pakistan".

A document released by the US administration in February identifies "precision strike; air mobility and combat search and rescue; counter-improvised explosive device and survivability; battlefield communications; night operations; border security; and maritime security/counter-narcotics in support of counter-terrorism aims" as areas essential to enhancing Pakistan’s counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism capabilities.