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Jaishankar comments on F-16 for Pakistan earns Internet's kudos

Jaishankar comments on F-16 for Pakistan earns Internet's kudos

Jaishankar comments on F-16 for Pakistan earns Internet's kudos
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By CNBCTV18.com Sept 29, 2022 7:07:26 AM IST (Published)

Referring to the US argument that the package was to fight terrorism and not designed as a message to India, Jaishankar said everybody was aware where and against whom F-16s were used. 

External affairs minister S Jaishankar took a sharp dig at the US rationale behind sending the F-16 fighter jet fleet to Pakistan earlier this month. Referring to the US argument that the package was to fight terrorism and not designed as a message to India, Jaishankar said everybody was aware of where and against whom F-16s were used.

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“You're not fooling anybody by saying these things," Jaishankar said in response to a question at an interaction with Indian-Americans in Washington on Sunday.
Earlier this month, the US government overturned a decision by former President Donald Trump to suspend military aid to Pakistan as it was providing safe havens for the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani Network. The Joe Biden-led administration approved a $450 million F-16 fighter jet fleet sustainment programme for Pakistan, saying that it was required to sustain Islamabad's capability to counter terrorism threats.
Soon, Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh expressed his concerns over Washington’s decision.
How US reacted?
A day after Jaishankar’s comments, US secretary of state Antony Blinken said the sustenance package for Pakistan’s F-16 fleet was not a new programme. Speaking at a joint press conference with Jaishankar on Tuesday, Blinken said it was an ‘obligation’ for the US to provide military equipment in order to bolster Islamabad’s capability to deal with terrorist threats.
Social media erupts
The Internet lauded the external affairs minister’s fiery response, some calling him the most outstanding foreign minister India has ever seen.
One user wrote on Twitter: “India’s EAM Jaishankar has just slammed the US and its Pakistan policy very directly.”
Another user said: “As usual, EAM Jaishankar Ji is roasting Americans on their own land!”
This user described the minister as a “Man of Steel!”
After the 9/11 terrorist attack on the US, the sale of F-16s to Pakistan continued as an aid for Islamabad's war on terror.
In the aftermath of the Balakot airstrike in 2019, then-wing commander Abhinandan Varthaman shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet over the Line of Control (LOC). Pakistan said it did not use the F-16s as it would be a direct violation of its terms of use with the US.
Jaishankar also commented on India-Russia ties and said that New Delhi’s choice to procure defence equipment from Moscow was in its own national interest.
Speaking at the joint press conference with Blinken, Jaishankar said India has always multi-sourced defence equipment. “Where we get our military to equip (sic) is not a new issue or changed due to geopolitical changes. We exercise a choice that is in our national interest," he said.
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