US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken defends US arms sales Pakistan India has criticized it as the target of a $450 million F-16 fighter jet deal between Washington and Islamabad.
At a news conference in the U.S. capital on Tuesday, Blinken said The military package approved earlier this month is used to maintain Pakistan’s existing fleet.
“These are not new planes, new systems, new weapons. It is maintaining everything they have,” said Blinken, who was speaking alongside Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.
“Pakistan’s plan strengthens its response terrorist threat from Pakistan or the region. It is not in anyone’s interest for these threats to move forward with impunity,” he said.
Blinken met Jashankar a day after a separate meeting with his Pakistani counterpart, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
“In our discussions … we talked about the importance of managing a responsible relationship with India,” Blinken said after Monday’s meeting, without elaborating.
For decades, the United States has maintained close ties to both India and Pakistan, despite various tense between nations.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said earlier this week that “our relationship with India is independent; our relationship with Pakistan is independent”.
While Jashankar has not publicly criticized Blinken over the F-16 deal, India’s foreign minister said at an event on Sunday that the U.S. position was not “fooling anyone.”
“Some people say that I do this to Anti-terrorismwhen you talk about aircraft with capabilities like the F-16, everyone knows where they are deployed,” he said, referring to the positioning of the fleet to India.
“Honestly, the relationship ended up serving neither Pakistan nor U.S. interests well,” he added.
Pakistan Army rely heavily on to the United States, but relations have been strained in recent years, especially during the war in Afghanistan.
India has historically bought military equipment from Moscow and has urged the United States to drop sanctions under a 2017 law against any country that buys “vital” military equipment from Russia.
Welcome to Pakistan’s Foreign Minister @BBhuttoZardari arrive @StateDept Reaffirm our close partnership for economic prosperity, regional stability and food security. I also highlighted our continued support for flood relief, including nearly $56.5 million in aid. #AtUSAt75 pic.twitter.com/TAZdFjh5zI
— Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (@SecBlinken) September 27, 2022
Jaishankar said on Tuesday that India has also purchased weapons from countries including the United States, France and Israel, while noting that India has the right to “make choices that we believe are in our national interest” and is free to refuse changes because of “geopolitical tensions.”
For the past 30 years, the United States has made strengthening ties with India a high priority as it seeks allies in the region to help counter growing Indian power. China.
U.S. largely silent on India’s ongoing ties with Russia after invasion of Ukraine, happy with Indian PM Narendra Modi Tell Russian President Vladimir Putin that now is “not the time for war.”
US President Joe Biden hold talks In April, Washington sought more help to exert economic pressure on Moscow in the war.
Jaishankar advises India Work is being done behind the scenes and “weighing” with Russia during negotiations to open up grain shipments from the Black Sea, part of what Jaishankar said was the country’s expanding “international footprint”.
“In more regions, we will intersect with U.S. interests. It is a complementary process that serves our mutual interests,” Jashankar said.
Meanwhile, Blinken told a news conference that India and the US should rely on “core values, including respect for universal human rightssuch as freedom of religion and belief and freedom of speech, which makes our democracy stronger.”
Jaishankar indirectly responded to Blinken’s comments on Tuesday that both India and the US are committed to democracy, but “in terms of their historical, traditional and social context”.
“India does not believe that the effectiveness or quality of democracy should be determined by voting banks,” he said.