State department clears sale of military hardware to Pakistan as it is vital to US interests
GN Bureau | April 8, 2015
Terming Pakistan as a country of vital importance for US foreign policy, the US State Department has approved shipment of billion dollars worth of military hardware and equipment to Pakistan.
According to a report in Pakistani newspaper Dawn, Pakistan had submitted its request last year, stating that the weapons were needed for fighting insurgents in the country’s mountainous regions.
The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale.
“This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a country vital to US foreign policy and national security goals in South Asia,” the agency said.
“This proposed sale of helicopters and weapon systems will provide Pakistan with military capabilities in support of its counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations in South Asia,” it added.
The agency has also said that this arms sale “will not alter the basic military balance in the region”.
What Pakistan will get in the $952 million shopping credit:
15 AH-1Z Viper Attack Helicopters, 32 T-700 GE 401C Engines (30 installed and 2 spares), 1000 AGM-114 R Hellfire II Missiles in containers, 36 H-1 Technical Refresh Mission computers, 17 AN/AAQ-30 Target Sight Systems, 30 629F-23 Ultra High Frequency/Very High Frequency Communication Systems, 19 H-764 Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation Systems, 32 Helmet Mounted Display/Optimized Top Owl, 17 APX-117A Identification Friend or Foe, 17 AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning Systems, 17 AN/ALE-47 Counter-measure Dispenser Sets, 18 AN/APR-39C(V)2 Radar Warning Receivers, 15 Joint Mission Planning Systems, and 17 M197 20mm Gun Systems.
In the list are system integration and testing, software development and integration, aircraft ferry, support equipment, spare and repair parts, tools and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, US government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics and programme support.
Nuclear headache from Pakistan
Meanwhile, the New York Times has warned that "Pakistan, with the world's fastest-growing nuclear arsenal, is unquestionably the biggest concern," in South Asia. It has asked major world powers to turn their attention towards it after finalising the Iran deal.
The Times cited Pakistan's plans to purchase eight diesel-electric submarines from China, which could be equipped with nuclear missiles, and test-firing a ballistic missile that appears capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to any part of India.
"Pakistan now has an arsenal of as many as 120 nuclear weapons and is expected to triple that in a decade," the report said. "An increase of that size makes no sense, especially since India's nuclear arsenal, estimated at about 110 weapons, is growing more slowly."
"Prime minister Narendra Modi of India has made it clear that Pakistan can expect retaliation if Islamic militants carry out a terrorist attack in India, as happened with the 2008 bombing in Mumbai," it noted.
"The Pakistani Army has become increasingly dependent on the nuclear arsenal because Pakistan cannot match the size and sophistication of India's conventional forces," the report said.
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