Bush approves F-16 sales to Pakistan

Reversing a policy instated by his own father, President Bush has authorized the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan—a move India has warned could destabilize the region. The US banned the sale of such potential nuclear delivery systems to Pakistan in 1990 due to concerns about its nuclear weapons program. (WP, March 26) The move comes days after Pakistan test-fired a new missile, dubbed the Shaheen II, with a range of 1,250 miles—capable of hitting targets deep in India. The missile was apparently fired into the sea from a facility near the port of Karachi, and successfully hit its target. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said the nuclear weapons program would continue to "receive the highest national priority." (AP, March 19) The new missile has a longer range than the last test-fired by Pakistan in 2002. (See WW4 REPORT #35)

Perversely, the move also comes days after the US offered India nuclear aid as an inducement to halt planned natural gas purchases from Iran.

Seee our last post on Pakistan.