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Pakistan seeks F-16 jets from US

January 16, 2009 01:21 IST

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Pakistan has asked the US to meet the requirements of its armed forces, especially the supply of F-16 combat jets.
 
Defence Minister Chaudry Ahmad Mukhtar, a close aide of President Asif Ali Zardari [Images], informed US Ambassador [Images] Anne Patterson about the defence requirements of Pakistan, particularly the provision of F-16 aircraft.
 
Patterson emphasised the need to strengthen defence ties for the mutual benefit of the two countries. Both sides
agreed to "intensify bilateral cooperation so as to overcome the challenges being confronted" by both countries, said a statement issued after the meeting held on Tuesday.
 
The US is currently in the process of supplying 12 used F-16 jets to Pakistan for its role as a "major non-NATO
ally". Pakistan also had plans to buy 36 new F-16s worth USD 5.1 billion but reduced its order to 18 jets after the
devastating 2005 earthquake in Kashmir brought on a financial crunch.
 
It was not immediately clear if Mukhtar wanted the US to supply the refurbished F-16s or he had sought more new
jets.
 
In August last year, the US approved the delivery of 20 P-37 jet trainer aircraft to Pakistan. The US is providing
the used aircraft free of cost to Pakistan, which will only have to bear shipment costs.
 
The US also released USD 116 million last year to finance mid-life upgrades for Pakistan's aging fleet of F-16
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