Sale of F-16s to Pakistan is part of legacy announcement: US envoy Richard Verma

Mumbai: US Ambassador to India Richard Verma on Sunday described the controversial sale of F-16 aircraft to Pakistan as "part of a legacy announcement", saying America expects Islamabad to do 'much more' on eliminating terror safe havens there.

"It's part of a bit of a legacy announcement that is made several years ago. There are technical processes like the Congressional ratification," Verma said during an interaction at the CNN Asia Business Forum organised as part of the ongoing 'Make in India Week' in Mumbai.

"Our policy in Pakistan is to support the moderate elements, to support democracy.

F-16. AFP

F-16. AFP

"There is a big counter-terrorism insurgency component as well. Over the years our assistance to Pakistan has been a mix of both civilian and military equipment," he said.

Verma's comments came a day after the Obama administration notified the US Congress of its decision to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan worth nearly USD 700 million.

Reacting strongly India on Saturday summoned Verma to convey its "displeasure and disappointment" over the Obama administration's decision to sell F-16 jets to Pakistan.

"It will surprise people that two-thirds of our aid to Pakistan is civilian aid...for energy, education, infrastructure and public development," he added.

"There are also dangerous groups operating in Pakistan and military tools are required. It is part and parcel of why this sale went through, to tackle...that kind of terrorism and insurgency capability", the Envoy said.

The US envoy said Pakistan needs to act against terror groups on it's soil.

"More action needs to be taken by Pakistan on terror groups. Safe havens need to be eliminated," he added.

Meanwhile, lauding the Narendra Modi government, Verma said there has been 'substantial progress' in India in the last two years.

According to him, among the challenges before India were those of rapid urbanisation and that of tackling climate change.

George Yeo of Kerry Logistics Networks expressed optimism that any future India-China conflict will not go out of control.

"There may be scars of the 1962 war (with China) on Indian psyche but in China it is almost forgotten," Yeo said.


Updated Date: Feb 14, 2016 20:01 PM

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