The Barack Obama administration has decided to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, evoking a sharp response from India, which said it was "disappointed" at the deal and summoned the US ambassador to convey "displeasure."
The Obama government said that the $700 million deal was to help improve the security of a strategic partner in South Asia.
"It will increase the number of aircraft available to the Pakistan Air Force to sustain operations, meet monthly training requirements, and support transition training for pilots new to the Block-52. Pakistan will have no difficulty absorbing these additional aircraft into its air force," the Pentagon said, according to the Press Trust of India.
India, however, conveyed disappointment at the deal on Saturday.
"We are disappointed at the decision of the Obama administration to notify the sale of F-16 aircrafts to Pakistan. We disagree with their rationale that such arms transfers help to combat terrorism," the External Affairs ministry said on Twitter. "The record of the last many years in this regard speaks for itself."
Several American lawmakers, both from the Republican and the Democratic parties, had opposed the sale of fighter jets to Pakistan.
However, Pentagon officials maintained that the F-16 jets will help Pakistan counter terrorism.
"We strongly support the proposed sale of eight F-16s to Pakistan. This platform will support Pakistan's counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations, and has contributed to the success of these operations to date," a US State Department official told PTI.
In December, former Pakistani Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani had warned the US that the F-16 fighter jets and other military hardware it sold to Pakistan could be used against India.