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F-16s for Pak: Don't worry, US tells India
March 29, 2005 20:37 IST
The United States on Tuesday sought to allay India's apprehension that the sale of F-16 aircraft to Pakistan will have an adverse impact on the India-Pakistan peace process.
It said the fighter planes offered to India will be at a competitive price and have superior technology.
"India already has a defence relationship [with the US]. This [sale of F-16s] will be a transparent process. We are for maintaining standards. We will find out what kind of plane India wants," US Ambassador to India David C Mulford said on Tuesday.
On Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee's statement that the sale of F-16 aircraft to Pakistan will have an adverse impact on the composite dialogue process between the two countries, Mulford said, "I don't see why it should. The balance of power is not disturbed [by the US proposal]."
He also sought to underplay the timing of the decision saying it is linked to a complex legislative process in the US Congress.
"I don't think anybody had any illusions about it. For quite a long time, F-16s for Pakistan was something that was going to happen. It was known and I don't think it should come as a surprise."
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, during her recent visit to India, had declared that there was no proposal on the part of the US to sell F-16s to Pakistan.
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