The Obama administration is working on a framework that might take the manufacturing of the super advanced F16 to India. This could be the beginning of a new arms race. We decided to study the equation with a bird’s eye view. Here is a small understanding of the situation.
President-elect Donald J. Trump who is to be sworn in on the 20th January ’17, has a character that raises a lot to question and puts the deal in a completely different perspective. Trump is a white supremacist, not a friend of Muslims and counts Pakistan as a potential threat. Donald J. Trump has kept nothing hidden and time to time has expressed his opinion on international affairs. Bypassing traditional diplomatic norms, Donald Trump, has already created a stir of unease and confusion in Islamabad. Though the recent telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President-elect Donald Trump may have offered some relief, remaining oblivious of the surrounding can cost Pakistan much more than it is estimating.
Trump has businesses in India, making his term favorable for the Indian government which is expecting support on both political and economic fronts. This new found love affair should be kept on the radar, and both, political and military pundits from Pakistan should not lose sight of even the minutest of developments.
While President Barack Obama and his establishment are busy working on a deal with the Indian government to take the iconic U.S. combat aircraft manufacturing to India, the development is confounding. In complete contradiction to Trump’s plans that promises retaining and bringing jobs back to the United States, the development is already red flagged. Trump has previously issued statements favoring India and encouraging its role as a checker on Pakistan. It is quite possible that the current deal between United States, India, and Lockheed Martin may materialize to the best.
As reported, Lockheed Martin (manufacturer of F16) and Boeing have made proposals to the Indian government to manufacture fighter jets — the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the F/A-18 Super Hornet — in India as the country seeks to modernize its rapidly aging fleet of largely Russian-built airplanes.
Both the companies are looking forward to building production facilities in India, while Lockheed Martin has indicated it might even consider moving the entire production line from Texas to India, making India the sole producer of the single-engine combat aircraft. The current proposal has strong backing from the Obama administration as Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter is set to return to India this week, with procurement high atop the list of discussion topics.
Almost every Pakistani is aware of the failed United States and Pakistan F16 deal. For now Pakistan is no longer interested in the US deal and is considering procuring a variant of F16, F16/A from Jordan while building its backbone around Chinese build JF17 and JF17 Thunder.
Manufacturing of F16s in India will have interesting implications in the region, as this will lead to another arms race between the neighbors. The recent tension on LoC has pretty much exposed India’s war mongering nature and in possession of advanced technology may add a false sense of supremacy. India is at unease about the rapidly developing Gwadar port and China Pakistan Economic Corridor while Pakistan has displayed immense restrain on recent provocation but may act if the need arises.
It is now up to the newly elected United States government and international bodies to halt any such transfer of technology, failure of which will pose a serious security threat to the region.
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