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Pallone outraged over F-16s to Pak

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March 26, 2005 16:03 IST

Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone, founder of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, has expressed 'outrage' over the United States' decision to sell F-16 fighter planes to Pakistan. Earlier, the US had cleared the sale of two dozen nuclear-capable fighter planes to Islamabad.

"I am concerned that this decision by the Bush administration, coupled with their continued policy of increased military assistance for Pakistan, will mean a step backward in the US-India relations," Pallone said.

Referring to the US statement that it also plans to sell the jets to India, an apparent balancing act, Pallone warned that military sales to India and Pakistan must be kept separate.

"The Bush administration is using the sale of fighter jets to India as a means to justify the sale to Pakistan, but this should not be an issue of military parity," Pallone said.

He had expressed his objections to the sale to Pakistan in a letter to US President George W Bush in November. Pallone also co-signed a similar letter spearheaded by the India Caucus to the president earlier this week.

His letter to Bush read, "We are slighting our relationship with India, a fellow democracy, to sell a defence system to a neighbouring non-democratic nation, who has supported terrorist infiltration into Kashmir, and has supplied nuclear equipment to terrorist nations."

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