World headlines | Concerned about US military assistance to Pakistan in India

In recent years, F-16s from Islamabad and jets from Delhi have engaged in aerial combat over Kashmir.

In a conversation with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Wednesday, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh claimed that he voiced his concerns on a recent US repair program for Pakistan's F-16 fighter jets.

Austin and Singh, according to Singh, spoke on the phone in a "warm and fruitful" conversation about their mutual interests in defense and security. The recent US decision to give [a] sustenance package for Pakistan's F-16 fleet, he continued, "conveyed India's concern."

Ned Price, a spokesman for the US State Department, said last week that Washington would give Islamabad a $450 million package of "maintenance and sustainment services" to help the Pakistani Air Force's approximately 85 F-16s last longer. Together with Chinese JF-17 and J-10 and French Dassault Mirage combat aircraft, these jets were delivered to Pakistan in multiple installments beginning in 1983.

According to Price, the transaction will "maintain Pakistan's capability to handle current and future counterterrorism challenges." As a result of the Pakistani government's alleged failure to crack down on the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network terrorist groups, the Trump administration defenseinstallmentscenter018 suspended several military aid packages to Islamabad totaling almost $2 billion. Pakistan has long been accused of facilitating terrorism.

Since the partition of British India in 1947, Pakistan and India have engaged in four wars, with several border clashes and sturring in between. An Indian MiG-21 jet was shot down and its pilot was taken hostage by Pakistani aircraft in 2019 after India carried out an airstrike on a suspected terrorist training center on Pakistani land. Then, according to India, one of Pakistan's F-16s was shot down; however, Pakistan disputes this assertion.

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