US confirms it's diverting two-thirds of anti-terror Pak aid to upgrading F-16s

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Washington, July 25 : Washington has reportedly confirmed that it was willing to divert two-third of anti-terror funds to Pakistan to financing up-gradation of F-16 fighter jets.

"The F-16s ... are used in counter-terrorism operations. We made them available to [Pakistan] and they need to be maintained," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said while addressing reporters.

Modernisation of Pakistan's fleet of ageing F-16s is estimated to cost around 891 million dollars that was to be paid out of Pakistan's national funds. Because of the current economic crunch, Islamabad had asked the Bush administration to divert 226 million dollars from the overall military aid programme with Pakistan in finance year 2008 and 140 million dollars in finance year 2009, making up the balance from its own resources.

The total F-16 package - from the days the first aircraft were acquired to the last ones Pakistan is purchasing - carries a cost of three billion dollars.

The US has so far only allowed 108 million dollars to be diverted out of the FMF and if the other two amounts that Pakistan seeks for 2008 and 2009 come through, the total amount divertible to the F-16 purchase account would come to 474 million dollars.

Pakistan's purchase of the jet fighter aircraft appeared to be going through smoothly so far.

ANI

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