March 26, 2005

WIN/WIN/WIN:

Bush irks India by selling fighters (Sharon Behn, 3/26/05, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

The Bush administration yesterday announced the sale of F-16 fighter jets to its anti-terrorism ally, Pakistan, a major policy shift in the region that irked Pakistan's longtime nuclear rival India.

Pakistan, the only nuclear-armed Muslim-majority nation, is seen as critical to the U.S. strategy in the region. A senior administration official said yesterday there was "no set limit" on what Washington would be willing to sell to Islamabad.

The decision was warmly welcomed by Pakistan, but more coolly received by India.

"This is a good gesture," said Pakistani Information Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmed. "This shows that our relations are growing stronger," he told Reuters news agency.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was informed of the sale by President Bush in a telephone call, was not pleased.

"The prime minister expressed India's great disappointment at this decision which could have negative consequences for India's security environment," the prime minister's spokesman, Sanjaya Baru, said.

The decision to sell the fighter jets reflects a shift in American strategy toward South Asia into trying "to build long-term foundations of security and friendship" with Pakistan, India and Afghanistan, the administration official said.


A significant amount of the work on F-16s is apparently done in Fort Worth, TX and internal politics will force India to place orders for them too. Nice when your international strategy melds with your home state interests.


MORE (via David Cohen):
Here's an interesting coincidence, -U.S. Air Force receives last F-16 (F-16 Net, March 25, 2005)

The US Air Force has received the last of 2,231 F-16 fighters manufactured for the service, the Air Force's Aeronautical Systems Center announced on Thursday.

The general who was the F-16 System Program Office director at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, when the contract for the aircraft was awarded delivered the Air Force's last F-16 Fighting Falcon on March 18.

While Lockheed Martin Aero, Fort Worth, will continue to produce F-16s for international coalition partners, this aircraft is the last of 2,231 F-16s produced for the Air Force, officials said. The first delivery was in 1978.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 26, 2005 8:37 AM
Comments

So all this "Axis of Good" and "Anglosphere" yap never really meant much to you did it?

Posted by: Governor Breck at March 26, 2005 8:46 AM

Pakistan is part of the Anglosphere. We'll need everyone in the Axis to be using the same equipment...ours. As Iran found to its chagrin, using our weapons makes you militarily dependent on us.

"The decision to sell the fighter jets reflects a shift in American strategy toward South Asia into trying "to build long-term foundations of security and friendship" with Pakistan, India and Afghanistan, the administration official said."

Posted by: oj at March 26, 2005 8:50 AM

There is the fourth win: sticking it in France's eye, as other countries would rather have our 30 year old air-frame than the Eurofighter.

Posted by: David Cohen at March 26, 2005 9:03 AM
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