In 2018, Donald Trump stopped all defence and security assistance to Pakistan alleging that Islamabad was not a partner in its fight against terrorism. The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) had said that the Pakistan government had requested support for its F-16 fleet.
Over the sustenance package for Pakistan’s F-16 fleet by the US, the State Department said that though it views Pakistan as an important counterterrorism partner still the country expects it to take sustained action against terrorist groups, reported Dawn.
During a press briefing, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price expressed concerns over the ban on the transmission of Pakistan’s local media outlet ARY News.
“We continue to be concerned by significant restrictions on media outlets and civil society in Pakistan… We routinely raise our concerns about press freedom to all stakeholders around the world, including to our partners and our counterparts in Pakistan,” Price said.
He added that Washington was “concerned that media and content restrictions, as well as a lack of accountability for attacks against journalists, undermine the exercise of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.”
Underscoring its support to Pakistan amid the devastating floods that has gripped the South Asian Nation, Price said a total of nine US Central Command flights had delivered more than half of the 630 metric tons of relief supplies from USAID’s Dubai warehouse as a response, reported Dawn.
“In total, CENTCOM will airlift more than 41,000 kitchen sets, 1,500 rolls of plastic sheeting, tens of thousands of plastic tarps, 8,700 shelter fixing kits – all in support of USAID’s flood relief.”
Price added that in this fiscal year alone, the US had provided more than USD 53 million in humanitarian assistance, including urgently needed support for food, nutrition, multipurpose cash, safe drinking water, nutrition, sanitation and hygiene, as well as shelter assistance.
It is worthy to note that Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh conveyed India’s concerns related to the American sustenance package for Pakistan’s F-16 fleet to US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin in a telephonic conversation in which the two leaders discussed the growing convergence of strategic interests and enhanced cooperation.
Notably, India is considered the centrepiece of the US President Joe Biden administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy and Indian Foreign and Defence Ministers recently held the ‘2+2’ meeting with their American counterparts.
India-US bilateral partnership today encompasses a whole host of issues including the response to Covid-19, economic recovery post-pandemic, the climate crisis and sustainable development, critical and emerging technologies, supply chain resilience, education, the diaspora and defence and security.