WASHINGTON – The United States, responding to reports that Pakistan would get F-16s from elsewhere after the deal with US collapsed, has said it has “absolutely no intention” of losing focus of its important relationship with Islamabad.
“These are sovereign decisions that nations make with respect to their defence needs, and it’s up to Pakistan to speak to how they’ll fulfil their defence needs,” State Department Spokesman John Kirby told reporters at the daily press briefing on Tuesday.
He was replying to a question whether the remarks coming from a senior Pakistani officials’ reaction that they would secure fighter jets from other countries was likely to strain Washington-Islamabad relations.
“As for the relationship, as I’ve said many, many times, it’s an important one.
It’s critical, it’s vital particularly in that part of the world, and it’s a relationship we have absolutely no intention of losing focus on or diminishing in any way,” Kirby said.
“But these are obviously sovereign decisions that Pakistan has to make,” he added.
A day earlier, the US told Pakistan to make pull payments for the F-16 fighter jets costing an estimated $700 million after some top Congress Senators put a hold on the subsidy (of $435 million as promised earlier).
When an Indian journalist pushed Kirby to comment on remarks by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan that the US aid to Pakistan has been “peanuts”, he deflected the question.
“I would just simply say that, again, it’s an important relationship.
We’re going to continue to support that relationship.
We fully stand behind the kinds of support that we have provided Pakistan over the last many years with respect specifically to their counterterrorism capabilities and counterterrorism needs, and we’re going to continue to look for ways to improve that cooperation as best we can,” Kirby said.
Courtesy : Nation.com.pk