Foreign Minister S Jaishankar met his US counterpart Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington DC on Tuesday for bilateral talks, during which he raised concerns about the recent F-16 maintenance package. for Pakistan.
In a press conference after the talks, US Secretary of State Blinken justified the decision by saying it would help Pakistan in its counter-terrorism efforts.
“To be very clear, this is a maintenance program for F-16s that Pakistan has had for a long time. These are old plans and systems that they already have. We have a responsibility and obligation to support and sustain whomever we provide military supplies to. Blinken said.
“Pakistan’s program strengthens its ability to combat terror and terrorist threats emanating from Pakistan or the region. It is in nobody’s interest that they continue with impunity. This capability that Pakistan has can benefit us all in dealing with terrorism.” . he added.
While Jaishankar did not respond to the F-16’s question at the joint briefing, he raised concerns about the “merits” of the US-Pakistan relationship during an interaction with Indian Americans on Sunday.
“For someone to say that I’m doing this because it’s all counter-terrorism content, and when you talk about something like the capability of an F-16, which everyone knows, and they know where they’re deployed and their use, they’re not misleading anyone by saying these things. Jaishankar said.
US F-16 AGREEMENT WITH PAKISTAN
The US Department of State has approved a Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to the Government of Pakistan for the sustainability of the Pakistan Air Force’s F-16 fleet and equipment at a cost of $450 million.
However, without naming Pakistan, Jaishankar said: “We particularly value closer coordination in the Indian subcontinent where we perceive our convergences to be very strong. It is essential that democracy, pluralism, progress, development, and prosperity be fostered.” On the contrary, we must be against radicalism, extremism, and fundamentalism.”
“India is expanding its international presence, and there are many more regions where we would intersect with US interests. It is to our mutual benefit that this is a complementary process,” he added.
INDIA-US BILATERAL TALKS
The two sides discussed a wide range of issues, from bilateral to regional to global. India expressed concern over visa delays, which have affected the lives of students, businesses, and even families who have been unable to reunite. He was also optimistic about the resolution of the crisis.
“On mobility, specifically visas, this is particularly crucial, given its centrality to education, business, technology and family reunions – there have been some challenges lately, and I have pointed that out to Secretary Blinken and his team, and I have full confidence that they will take some of these issues seriously and positively,” Jaishankar said.
The two sides also discussed the fight against terrorism and praised each other’s efforts to detain wanted terrorists.
“I also expressed my appreciation for the strong cooperation we have obtained from the US on the issue of addressing international terrorism. In particular, I refer to the list of known and wanted terrorists by the UN sanctions process. I also in many other formats, our two countries collaborate to keep the world safer and more secure,” Jaishankar said.
Secretary Blinken mentioned the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the need for it to end. Reminding reporters of Prime Minister Modi’s recent comments on ending the war, he said: “Prime Minister Modi said in Uzbekistan that ‘the current era is not one of war.’
He also declared at the United Nations General Assembly: “We are on the side that respects the UN Charter and its fundamental principles. And so is the United States.”
“Food security is also a major challenge. We focused on it during the week in New York. We should be part of the solution to find lasting ways to deal with the crisis. Each of these crises has been exacerbated by Russia’s war against Ukraine, and therefore we continue to put pressure on President Putin to end this war,” Blinken said.
While India has raised concerns about military ties between the US and Pakistan, the US has called on India to reduce its dependence on Russia.
The United States also advocated the expansion of the Security Council, which truly represents the new global order. Blinken stated in that context: “UN members must not only uphold the charter but also modernize the Security Council and make it more inclusive. President Biden, in his speech to the UNGA, spoke about expanding membership, which includes countries that we have supported for a long time and countries in Latin America, Africa, and the Caribbean.