The US Department of Defence has approved military sales worth $125 million to Pakistan to support its purchase of F-16 fighter jets on Friday. The decision was made a day after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan met US President Donald Trump.
"The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Pakistan for Technical Security Team (TST) in continued support of the F-16 program for an estimated cost of USD 125 million," the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement.
While the bilateral talks in Washington on Monday was declared 'successful' by both the countries, the defence deal is the first time the US has offered support after security aid to Pakistan was suspended by Trump in 2018.
The statement released by the Pentagon said that Pakistan requested a continuation of technical support services from the US government and other technical and logistical support services from contractors to oversee operations. It also mentioned the services were required by Pakistan to conduct its Peace Drive advanced F-16 programme.
The statement also said Pakistan had requested a continuation of technical support services -- US government and contractor technical and logistics support services -- and other related elements of logistics support to assist in the oversight of operations in support of the Pakistan Peace Drive advanced F-16 programme.
Around 60 contractor representatives from Booz Allen Hamilton Engineering Services LLC will be sent to Pakistan for assisting and overseeing purposes.
The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon, a multi-role fighter aircraft, concerns India as it is often used against its neighbour, with the most recent usage against India in the aftermath of the Balakot airstrikes.
Noting the state of elevated tensions between India and Pakistan, the Defence Department said: "The proposed sale of this support will not alter the basic military balance in the region."
Protection of US technology as part of American foreign policy and national security "through the continued presence of US personnel that provide 24/7 end-use monitoring," was also included.
A recent report released by the Indian Defence Ministry has said that Pakistan is expanding its nuclear and missile assets even as the country suffers from a severe economic crisis.
Intelligence officials from both the US and India have accused Pakistan army of using terror outfits Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Islamic State to launch attacks on Indian and US assets in Afghanistan.