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India lodges protest with US over resumption of F-16 support programme to Pakistan

India, he said, had conveyed its grave concern to the US authorities over the restoration of the F-16 support programme estimated to cost $125 million, within days of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Washington.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

India has lodged a strong protest with the United States over its decision to restore technical and logistics support to Pakistan’s F-16 fighter jets, saying the step could undermine India’s security interests.

At a media briefing here on Thursday, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the matter was taken by New Delhi with US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster and simultaneously by Indian envoy to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla in Washington.

India, he said, had conveyed its grave concern to the US authorities over the restoration of the F-16 support programme estimated to cost $125 million, within days of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Washington.

However, the US authorities have assured India that Washington has only approved F-16 support programme and that it would maintain a freeze on resuming military aid to Pakistan, which was announced by President Donald Trump in January 2018.

On frictions between India and the US over trade-related issues, the spokesperson said New Delhi was approaching matters relating to trade in a constructive manner. He said trade representatives of the two countries had held talks in New Delhi in July which ended on a positive note.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Trump, during their meeting in Osaka in June, had instructed their officials to meet soon and settle various trade-related issues, he noted.

Indications are that Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal may visit Washington soon to meet US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and other American officials.