Sunday, December 10, 2006

US to sell military equipment to Pakistan

As reported in an Indian news source:
Amidst the hoopla over the passage of a Bill to implement the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Deal, the Bush Administration has quietly announced the sale to Pakistan of military equipment worth over one billion dollars.

The Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified the US Congress of possible military sales to Pakistan of the E-2C Hawkeye 2000 Airborne Early Warning (AEW) suite and Associated Equipment and services for refurbishing modifying three excess P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft.

The total value of this, if all options are exercised, could be as high as 855 million dollars.

A routine claim has been made to Congress that this sale will not affect the military balance in the region.

The DSCA also notified Congress of another possible military sale to Islamabad of tow 2A missiles and associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $185 million.

The Pentagon has claimed that the command-and control capabilities of the Orion aircraft will improve Pakistan`s ability to restrict the littoral movement of terrorists along Pakistan`s southern border and ensure Islamabad`s overall ability to maintain integrity of its borders.

"Pakistan intends to use the proposed equipment to develop an effective air defense network for its Naval forces and provide an AEW surveillance and enhanced command, control, and communications capability. The addition of the AEW suites will provide Pakistan with search surveillance, and control capability in support of maritime interdiction operations," the DSCA has said. An Afghanistan angle too has been provided as a part of the justification.

The Pentagon said "these aircraft will also increase Pakistan`s ability to support the US operation enduring freedom operations, and provide anti-ship and antisubmarine warfare capabilities; and a control capability over land against transnational terrorists and narcotics smugglers.

"The modernization will enhance the capabilities of the Pakistani Navy and support its regional influence and meet its legitimate self-defense needs," it added.

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