US has limited security partnership with Pakistan, says Pentagon official

The Pentagon has said it has a “limited security partnership” with Pakistan, key comments amid Washington’s recent announcement of a $450 million package for Islamabad to preserve its F16 fleet. The Biden administration’s decision, announced earlier this month, reverses the previous Trump administration’s decision and helps Pakistan maintain its F16 program.

Speaking to a select group of reporters, US Assistant Secretary of Defense Dr. Ely S. Ratner said the US had been in touch with its Indian counterparts on the subject “both before the announcement” and “during the ‘Mini 2+2’ that happened earlier this month in Delhi.

dr Ely Ratner, along with Donald Lu, Deputy Foreign Minister (South and Central Asia Affairs), was in Delhi to attend the 2+2 Intersession India-US Dialogue with Indian diplomat Vani Rao. Rao is the Assistant Secretary (Americas) at the State Department.

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Ratner said: “It is important to be as transparent as possible with Indian counterparts both in advance and during the decision and there is a good opportunity for health exchanges on both the US rationale for its limited security partnership with Pakistan and one.” good opportunity to hear India’s concerns about it”.

Following the US announcement on F16, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh spoke, with the latter raising New Delhi’s concerns. The package does not include any upgrades.

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In response to the question, the Pentagon official also clarified that the package was not “intended as a message to India as it relates to its relationship with Russia.”

He noted that the “decision within the US administration regarding the F16 issue was made based on US interests related to our defense partnership with Pakistan, which is primarily focused on counter-terrorism and nuclear security.” US comments come even when Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is in New York.

Defense relations between India and the US have increased significantly in recent years. In 2016, the defense relationship was named the Major Defense Partnership (MDP). Several defense agreements have been signed in recent years. These include the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Association (August 2016); Memorandum of Understanding between the US Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and the Indian Defense Innovation Organization – Innovation for Defense Excellence (2018); Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (September 2018); Industrial Security Agreement (December 2019); Basic exchange and cooperation agreement (October 2020).

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