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'Pak used US aid to build up army against India'

June 06, 2009 14:24 IST

Pakistan has used a substantial amount of military aid from the United States, meant to fight terrorism, to build up its army with modern weapons and equipment for a conventional warfare against India, Pentagon documents have revealed.

All this was done with the knowledge of the George W Bush administration, which not only provided $1.9 billion in Foreign Military Financing but also signed agreements with Pakistan for military sales worth nearly $5 billion during the period, showed the documents accessed by PTI.

The Pentagon documents also revealed that a major post-9/11 American defence supply to Pakistan under FMF had nothing to do with its fight against terrorism. While the Taliban and al-Qaeda gained ground in the tribal areas of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan, Islamabad bought eight P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft and their refurbishment worth $474 million.

It also placed orders for 5,250 TOW anti-armour missiles worth $186 million. 2,007 of these have already been delivered and the rest are in the process of being supplied.

Besides buying more than 5,600 military radio sets worth $163 million, Pakistan bought six AN/TPS-77 surveillance radars worth $100 million and six C-130E transport aircraft and their refurbishment worth $76 million.

Under the Excess Defence Articles, it was granted 20 AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters, which were then refurbished, according to the Pentagon documents. Pakistan also used a substantial chunk of America's FMF to purchase up to 60 mid-life update kits for F-16 A/B combat aircraft valued at $891 million. Of this, it paid $477 million from the FMF funds given by the United States.

Similarly, of the $87 million worth order for 115 M-109 self-propelled howitzers, it paid $53 million from FMF. And all this happened while Pakistan's economic situation deteriorated. Islamabad also paid a whopping $1.43 billion to the US to purchase 18 new F-16 combat aircraft and another $629 million for F-16 armaments.

Prominent among these are 500 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles; 1,450 2,000-pound bombs; 500 JDAM tail Kits for gravity bombs and 1,600 Enhanced Paveway laser-guided kits, also for gravity bombs. The F-16 has not been delivered till date.

Pakistan also paid $298 million for 100 Harpoon anti-ship missiles; $95 million for 500 sidewinder air-to-air missiles and $80 million for six Phalanx close-in-naval guns.

While the Pentagon notified Congress on the possible transfer to Pakistan of three P-3B aircraft as EDA grants that would be modified to carry the E-2C Hawkeye air-borne early warning suite in a deal worth up to $855 million, this effort has not progressed beyond the notification stage.

Major EDA grants since 2001 include 14 F-16A/B combat aircraft and 39 T-37 military trainer jets. Under Coalition Support Funds -- part of the Pentagon budget -- Pakistan has received 26 Bell 412 utility helicopters, along with related parts and maintenance, valued at $235 million.

Finally, under Frontier Corps Authorities, the United States has provided Pakistan with helicopter spare parts, night vision goggles, radios, body armour, helmets, first aid kits, litters and other individual soldier equipment.

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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