American-Pakistani Weapons Deal
US Offers $1bn Weapons Deal to Pakistan (Financial Times)
The US has proposed its largest arms sales package to Pakistan in more than 14 years, underlining the country’s role as a close ally of Washington in the war on terror.
The Pentagon notified Congress about the $1.2bn package late Tuesday. It includes eight P3-C Orion surveillance aircraft, six Phalanx rapid fire guns for the Pakistan navy, and more than two thousand TOW 2 missiles for the army.
The package would mark the first significant arms sale to a US ally since this month’s re-election of President George W. Bush.
Ã¢€œIt’s a positive development and it fits in to the context of the fast burgeoning defence relations between our two countries,Ã¢€ a senior Pakistani official said.
Pakistan has also asked the US for 18 to 25 new F-16 fighter jets. The delivery of an earlier batch of 60 F-16s was suspended in 1990 over allegations at the time that Pakistan was manufacturing nuclear weapons.
Ã¢€œWe are still pursuing the F-16 option,Ã¢€ said a Pakistani official. But a western diplomat said: Ã¢€œThe F-16 matter is still largely unresolved.Ã¢€
The Pentagon declined to say whether it was negotiating with Pakistan over the F-16 request.
Since I’ve spent the past week and a half in hibernation — preparing for midterms and writing essays — I don’t feel particularly well-equipped to comment on this story. It prompts questions about whether negotiations of the agreement included any talks of meaningful democratic reforms. I’m doubtful, though.