US govt recognises Congress concerns on Pak F-16 deal: Biswal

The Obama administration has “recognised” the concerns of lawmakers with regard to sale of eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan and those are right now being taken into consideration, a top American diplomat has told Congress .

“We understand the very serious concerns that has been raised by the Congress and those concerns are right now being taken into consideration,” Nisha Desai Biswal, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing on South Asia.

“I do not have an update for you on with respect to that notification and where it goes. But I will say that we recognized the concerns that Congress has raised with us,” Biswal said.

During the hearing, Congressman Matt Salmon, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, praised the Obama Administration for taking into account the strong viewpoint of the lawmakers with regard to sale of eight F-16 jets to Pakistan.

“It looks that that sale is in kind of a limbo right now,” he said.

“We have a very important relationship between the United States and India. We also have a very important (relationship) between the United States and Pakistan. Each relationship stands on its own merit in furtherance of our goals and interest in both countries. We do not see them in any way as a zero sum,” Biswal said.

“The F-16 platform is the one we have felt has been used successfully in combating terrorism. That has been the basis on which the administration put forward the notification to provide an additional eight F-16s,” she added.

“This (opposition to sale of F-16 to Pakistan) was across the aisle. This was not just Republicans or Democrats. This was across the aisle and a lot of concern that was expressed to end to its credit the administration I believe is taking those things into account,” Salmon said.


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