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.

“It’s a positive development and it fits in to the context of the fast burgeoning defence relations between our two countries,†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.

“We are still pursuing the F-16 option,†said a Pakistani official. But a western diplomat said: “The F-16 matter is still largely unresolved.â€

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.

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Robert Garcia Tagorda
About Robert Garcia Tagorda
Robert blogged prolifically at OTB from November 2004 to August 2005, when career demands took him in a different direction. He graduated summa cum laude from Claremont McKenna College with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and earned his Master in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.