India has voiced its “concern” over the resumption of a US deal to upgrade the F-16 fleet of rival and neighbor Pakistan.
Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh made his views known to US Defense Secretary LLoyd Austin during a phone call late Wednesday.
“I conveyed India’s concern at the recent US decision to provide sustenance package for Pakistan’s F-16 fleet,” Singh said in a Twitter post. “Look forward to continuing dialogue with Secretary Austin to further consolidating India-US partnership.”
Last week, the US State Department approved the potential sale of F-16 aircraft upgradation equipment to Pakistan in a deal valued at an estimated $450 million. The F-16s are viewed as one of the most capable fighter jets in the world. An upgrade would enhance Islamabad’s combat capabilities.
Relations between Hindu-dominant India and Muslim-majority Pakistan have been hostile since both gained independence from British rule in 1947. Tensions have centered on the border region of Kashmir, an area in the Himalayas claimed in full — and ruled in part — by both countries. They’ve fought two of their three wars over control of the region.
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