US arms supply to Pak shocks India

New Delhi seeks Washingtons assurance that these weapons will not be used against India

As a part of US assistance to counter al-Qaida and Taliban, Pentagon reportedly has admitted supplying laser-guided ammunition, 12 surveillance drones and 18 latest model F-16 fighters. Islamabad will also receive equipment capable of converting 1,000 traditional munitions into “smart bombs” that can strike the targets with precision.

The move has prompted Defence Minister A K Antony to come out in the open. Citing India’s bitter experience of how Islamabad had used such aid against India in the past, Antony stated Washington should ensure that the latest tranche of military aid is used only for the purpose of countering al-Qaida and Taliban terrorists and not against India.

Expressing concerns over the reported US decision to supply a whole array of sophisticated laser guided bomb kits, surveillance drones and late-model F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, the defence minister said India has bitter past experiences where US arms supplied to Pakistan were used against India.

While the drones and fighter jet deals were known for some time, it is the supply of a large quantity of laser-guided ammunition, which caused the maximum worry.

Last Sunday in Pokhran, Indian Air Force demonstrated how these precision ammunition could be used in day, dusk and night for maximum destruction. The fire power demonstration was witnessed by 28 defence attaches including the US. Defence ministry officials said Antony’s expression of concerns on the basis of past experience is India’s official position, which may also be conveyed to the USA through the diplomatic channel.
India lobbied hard to convince the US for not selling such sophisticated arms to Pakistan.

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