Pakistan and India are both partners of the US with different points of emphasis, the Biden administration said on Monday, a day after External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar questioned the necessity of the recent F-16 security assistance to Islamabad.
“We don't see our relationship with India as being related to our relationship with Pakistan. These are both of our partners and they each have a distinct focus,” Ned Price, spokesperson for the State Department said.
Price also said, "Because we frequently share values, we view both as partners. In many instances, our interests are similar. Our connection with India stands on its own and our connection with Pakistan also stands on its own.”
Additionally, he said that we want to use every effort to ensure that the relationships between these neighbours are as positive as they can be.
Earlier, during a conversation with Indian-Americans, Jaishankar said that everyone is aware of the locations and adversaries that F-16 fighter jets are deployed in response to the US’ claim that the F-16 maintenance package is to combat terrorism. He responded harshly to a question by saying, "You're not fooling anybody by saying these things.
Earlier this month, the US State Department approved a military sale of the F-16 fighter aircraft’s maintenance and related equipment to Pakistan at a cost of USD 450 million. The US argued that the deal is to sustain Pakistan's capability to meet current and future counter-terrorism threats.
However, the Trump administration suspended military assistance to Islamabad for providing safe havens for the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network in 2018.
In response to a question, Price said that Pakistan's goal is not to see instability and violence in Afghanistan.
He continued, “Our efforts to make the lives, livelihoods and humanitarian situations of the Afghan people better as well as to ensure that the Taliban uphold their agreements and we constantly address with our Pakistani allies.”
According to Price, Pakistan is involved in many commitments, including those related to counterterrorism, safe passage and the welfare of Afghan citizens. The Taliban's unwillingness or inability to fulfil these obligations would have important ramifications for Pakistan as well.