Despite objections from India and some US lawmakers, the Obama administration on Friday defended its decision to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.
"We support the proposed sale of eight F-16s to Pakistan to assist Pakistan's counter terrorism and counterinsurgency operations. Pakistan's current F-16s have proven critical to the success of these operations to date," state department spokesperson Helaena W White said in Washington.
The Pakistan Embassy in Washington appreciated the Obama administration's determination to go ahead with the proposed sale, the Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported on Saturday.
The US government announced on February 12 that it had approved the sale to Pakistan of up to eight additional F-16 fighter jets, as well as radars and other equipment in a deal valued at $699 million.
India and some US lawmakers have objected to sale of F-16 jets to Pakistan, saying that the F-16s have not been useful in such operations and would ultimately be used against India.
India had said that it disagreed with the US's rationale that supply of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan will help combat terrorism but at the same time noted that its ties with Washington were not a single-issue relationship.
US lawmakers have until March 12 to block the sale. Such action is rare since deals are usually well vetted before any formal notification, and it remained unclear if lawmakers would thwart the deal.