India raised concerns with the United States regarding the sale of military arms and equipment such as attack helicopters and missiles to Pakistan. The Indian government also requested Washington to consider the impact of such action on the security of the country.
Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs of India said, “Government has consistently conveyed to the U.S. that it must take into account India- U.S. relations, and the impact on India’s security in deciding its military assistance to Pakistan.”
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India will take all necessary action to protect its interests
Swaraj also stated that the Indian government is closely monitoring all developments that could affect the country, and it would take all actions needed to safeguard its interest.
One of the recent developments noted by India was the decision of the U.S. Department of State approving the potential sale of AH-1Z Viper Attack helicopters, AGM-114 Hellfire II missiles and other military equipment, training and support to Pakistan. The estimated value of the military equipment was $952 million, according to Swaraj.
The United States approved the sale of military arms and equipment to Pakistan in April. The sale was intended to help Pakistan in its effort to counter terrorism. The United States assured that the deal with Pakistan would not change the balance of military power in the region.
Pakistan bought JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft
India was also concerned about Pakistan’s first acquisition of a JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft during the International Paris Air Show.
PAF Air Commodore Khalid Mahmood confirmed that Pakistan ordered the fighter aircraft from an Asian country, which is expected to start deliveries in 2017. He said, “A contract has been signed with an Asian country.”
On the other hand, the Tejas combat aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) is not yet ready. The IAF is concerned because it has only 35 fighter jets, and it needs at least 44 to handle threats from Pakistan or China.
India is developing the Tejas Mark-II, a fighter jet with a more powerful engine, but it needs a foreign partner to take complete it and start flying by 2018 to 2019.
One person familiar with the situation told The Express Tribune, “Tejas II is still on the drawing board with only the preliminary design review being completed till now. The critical design review is far off.”
India, Pakistan joins Security Group led by China, Russia
India and Pakistan joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a security group led by China and Russia to improve bilateral relations in the region. Both countries hold an observer status in the SCO.
China and Russia are encouraging India and Pakistan to develop a friendly relationship with each other. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian Minister Narendra Modi discussed all issues affecting their countries such as terrorism and Kashmir. They agreed on a roadmap to improve relations. Modi is expected to visit Pakistan next year.
The optimism to improve the relationship between India and Pakistan eroded after the nuclear-armed countries exchanged fires in Kashmir that caused civilian casualties.
India’s military accused Pakistan of provoking unrest. According to Lieutenant General KH Singh, there are entities who want to create trouble on the Line of Control, the de facto border between the countries. He said, “We have to give them certain unexpected damage so that they don’t repeat it in the future.” Four Pakistanis were killed, and five others were injured during the shooting.