‘India told US about F-16s concern’
NEW DELHI: Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that India had conveyed its “disappointment and concern” to the United States on the proposed sale of the F-16 multi-role combat aircraft to Pakistan.
Mukherjee said the US administration had told India of its intention to supply F-16 aircraft to Pakistan and also about its intention to seek Congressional approval for the deal. “The US Administration also said they had cleared US manufacturers to respond to requests for proposals (RFP) from India for the multi-role combat aircraft. However, no decision has yet been taken by the government in this regard,” said the minister. He said that he had himself conveyed to the US Secretary of State that supplying fighter aircraft to Pakistan would trigger yet another arms race.
Bharatiya Janata Party member Pramod Mahajan asked if the present peace between India and Pakistan should be utilised to jointly tell the United States that they do not want the aircraft. Mukherjee quipped, “Suggestion noted but I cannot respond either way.”
Talking about the Indian Army new war doctrine, Mukherjee said the new doctrine included strategies adopted during low intensity conflicts, counter insurgency operations and peace keeping operations. He said the doctrine was not only useful for war, but to prepare the army for other operations as well.