Pak may get disputed F-16s by July end, says US

Washington: Defence experts in Washington D.C. anticipate Pakistan getting the disputed F-16 fighter aircrafts by the end of July despite strong opposition from American lawmakers.

The experts said that the Obama administration would ultimately succeed in convincing the U.S.Congress that it was in America’s interest to enable Pakistan to buy the aircraft, reports the Dawn.

Earlier this year, the Obama administration informed Islamabad that it was ready to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.

The US Senate, however, prevented the administration from subsidising the deal, although it endorsed the sale.

The White House has warned Congress that its effort to restrict US military assistance to Pakistan would hurt US interests in the region and would ‘unnecessarily complicate progress’ in ties with Pakistan.

The defence experts said such statements indicate improvement in relations between the defence establishments of the two countries.

They argue that the Obama administrations fears that ‘bringing too much pressure’ on Pakistan may have negative consequences and may also increase anti-American sentiments in the country.

Diplomatic observers in Washington pointed out that both sides were being “pragmatic” in seeking to revive their ties.

State Department’s spokesman John Kirby noted that ‘the Pakistani people have suffered at the hands of terrorists for far too long’, while underlining Washington’s desire to stay engaged with Pakistan.

The Americans envisage a greater role for India in the region and Pakistanis are willing to work with that, provided it’s not at the cost of their national interest, he added.(ANI)