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F-16 for Pak; Bush calls up PM

Source: PTI
Last updated on: March 25, 2005 22:21 IST
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United States President George W Bush on Friday telephoned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to convey his administration's decision to supply F-16 warplanes to Pakistan.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the move is a "great disappointment" for India and that it can have "negative consequences" for India's security environment.

"The prime minister received a telephone call from the US president on Friday evening. They had a wide-ranging conversation," Prime Minister's Office spokesman Sanjaya Baru said.

"The US president, among other things, spoke about his administration's decision to propose the transfer of F-16 aircraft to Pakistan. The prime minister expressed India's great disappointment at this decision, which could have negative consequences for India's security environment," Baru said.

The American decision comes despite India's constant opposition to the supply of the nuclear-capable multi-role fighters.

New Delhi has been maintaining that arming Pakistan with the advanced warplanes would hamper military balance in South Asia and could affect the ongoing Indo-Pak dialogue process, which has been progressing well.

India had even conveyed its concerns over the proposed US move in the first week of March when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice held talks with External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh.

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