New Delhi: India on Wednesday expressed its concerns with the US on its recent decision to provide sustenance package for Pakistan’s F-16 fleet.
The concern was conveyed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during telephonic conversation with US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin.
“Had a warm and productive telephonic conversation with the US Secretary of Defence, Mr. Lloyd Austin. We discussed growing convergence of strategic interests and enhanced defence and security cooperation,” the Defence Minister wrote on Twitter.
“We also discussed ways to strengthen technological and industrial collaboration and also explore cooperation in emerging and critical technologies,” he added.
“I conveyed India’s concern at the recent US decision to provide sustenance package for Pakistan’s F-16 fleet. Look forward to continuing dialogue with Seceratry Austin to further consolidating India-US partnership,” the Minister further added in thread.
The Biden administration has recently approved a USD 450 million F-16 fighter jet fleet sustainment programme to Pakistan.
The United States said that F-16 programme is an important part of a broader US Pakistan bilateral relationship.
Defending its decision, the Biden administration had said that this fleet will allow the country to support counterterrorism operations.
Later, the Defence Ministry in a release said that Rajnath Singh and his US counterpart Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin had a “warm and fruitful telephonic conversation.”
They reviewed the multi-faceted India-US defence cooperation and reiterated mutual commitment to further strengthen military-to-military ties.
Secretary Austin expressed support for India’s defence modernisation programme and looked forward to further strengthening India-US defence industrial and technology collaboration, the Ministry added.
Singh and Secretary Austin also discussed regional issues and affirmed their shared desire for maintaining peace and stability in the region and beyond.
The two Ministers reiterated that both sides would continue their productive engagements with the objective of deepening India-US Strategic Partnership.
Rajnath Singh conveyed that he looked forward to welcoming Secretary Austin in India for the next Ministerial 2+2 Dialogue in 2023. (UNI)