The US has made it clear. It will not give away F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan on subsidy. Only last February, the US government had approved the sale of eight jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp LMT.N, as well as radar and other equipment in a deal valued at $699 million.
With the US calling off the subsidy, Pakistan will have to pay the $700 million bill—which is quite unlikely. Lawmakers in the US are not keen on dispensing taxpayer’s money to seal a deal with Pakistan.
The US-Pak relationship is like a marriage relationship gone sour; where either spouse tries to arm twist the other. It’s much more complex than the goody-goody ties America shares with India. The US wants to send a clear message to Islamabad: ante up your fight against terrorism, or else pay the whole price. Washington has also given them a month-long deadline, and if Pakistan misses it, they will have to shell out more.
Not to be cowed down, Sartaj Aziz, Nawaz Sharif’s advisor on foreign affairs, has threatened US that Pakistan will buy JF-17 Thunder jets from elsewhere. India with a seven times larger military fund, need not lose sleep over the deal gone sour.
But the threat might not work, for it’s election time in the US, and it wants to look serious about its claim of ‘counter-terrorism’. America has refused to offer discounts on the ground that Pakistan will use the jets on waging war against India, instead of tackling terrorism. But there’s something more to their refusal.
With Bin Laden dead, and Afghanistan devastated, the US no longer needs to keep the niceties with Islamabad. ISIS, the terror monster created under America’s surveillance, is keeping the world’s attention on Libya and Iraq. Al-Qaida is long gone, and ISIS thugs are far away from the borders of Pakistan. Naturally, the US doesn’t see the need to keep Pakistan happy by offering kickbacks in defense deals, in the guise of foreign aids.
In all probability, Pakistan will buy fighter jets from China, for that is one country that has been supporting our neighbour now. In that case, India can relax, because China-made products are known for their dubious standards.
Supposedly Pakistan goes to war with India with their Chinese jet fighters, the planes might never take off, or if at all they do, they will fizzle out and nosedive into the ocean before reaching India. Pakistan is just acting like a toddler threatening to swap a toyshop if his demands are not immediately met. Aziz’s bite lacks teeth and US seems not to care two hoots about it.