The United States government reportedly notified the sale of eight F-16 fighter jets worth about $700 million to Pakistan. The Barack Obama adminsitration took the step towards finalising the deal despite objections from U.S. lawmakers and the Indian government.
Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States Jalil Abbas Jilani welcomed the notification and said the Lockheed Martin-manufactured F-16 fighter jets would be used to boost the country's "counter-terrorism efforts," Dawn reports.
"This proposed sale contributes to U.S. foreign-policy objectives and national security goals by helping improve the security of a strategic partner in South Asia," said the notification, published in the U.S. Federal Register Friday.
"We are grateful to the U.S. administration and members of Congress for their acknowledgment of Pakistan's decisive actions against extremists and terrorists and of the effective role the F-16a play in our counter-terrorism efforts," Jilani said.
Several U.S. lawmakers and the Indian government had protested against the intended sale, claiming it may adversely affect the military balance in South Asia and Pakistan might use them against India.
"The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region," a policy justification from Obama administration to Congress said while dismissing the objections. The fighter jets would improve "Pakistan's capability to meet current and future security threats," it added.
It said the deal was "necessary in furtherance of the U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives outlined in the Policy Justification."
The deal will reportedly be finalised after March 11.