US approves billion-dollar arms sale to Pakistan
WASHINGTON: The US State Department has approved Pakistan’s request for a billion dollars worth of military hardware and equipment, identifying Pakistan as a country of vital importance for US foreign policy and national interests.
Diplomatic sources told Dawn Pakistan had submitted its request last year, stating that the weapons were needed for fighting insurgents in the country’s mountainous regions.
The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale.
“This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a country vital to US foreign policy and national security goals in South Asia,” the certification said.
“This proposed sale of helicopters and weapon systems will provide Pakistan with military capabilities in support of its counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations in South Asia,” it added.
The agency informed US lawmakers that this proposed sale would provide Pakistan with “a precision strike, enhanced survivability aircraft” that it can operate at high-altitudes.
“By acquiring this capability, Pakistan will enhance its ability to conduct operations in North Waziristan, Fata, and other remote and mountainous areas in all-weather, day-and-night environments. Pakistan will have no difficulty absorbing these helicopters into its armed forces,” the certification said.