Procurement: October 3, 2003

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A $341 American weapons deal with Pakistan carries with it heavy diplomatic implications. The money is mainly for upgrading Pakistani's F-16 fighters. For over twenty years, Pakistan has been unable to upgrade or add to it's F-16 force because the U.S. Congress disapproved of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. This stalemate has chilled relations with Pakistan and made it difficult (but not impossible) to get cooperation from Pakistan in the war on terrorism (which was actually going on before September 11, 2001). The American Congress is still reluctant to loosen up on the F-16 issue, but the war on terror, and ongoing search for Osama bin Laden, and peace in Afghanistan, will no doubt be invoked. Some will protest that an improved F-16 force provides Pakistan with a more reliable way to deliver nuclear weapons to targets in India. The deal will provide spare parts, improved electronics and four or more aircraft to replace operational losses. 

 


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