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Pak has history of diverting US funds against India

Pak has history of diverting US funds against India

Author: Indrani Bagchi
Publication: The Times of India
Date: June 7, 2009

The Pakistani trait of diverting arms given to it by the US goes back to the 1950s when it was a member of Cento (Baghdad Pact), an essentially Cold War grouping. The field armour it had received from the US then was used in the 1965 war against India.

In a letter Indira Gandhi wrote to the Nixon administration on August 9, 1971, at a time when India-US ties were at their lowest, she noted that "it was a sad chapter in our subcontinent when the US began supply of arms to Pakistan in 1954 and continued to do so till 1965. The arms have been used against us, as indeed we feared they would be''.

This time around, almost four decades later, Pakistan seems to have done one better by using US funds to buy American arms. Pentagon reports say the arms were bought from America in the years under review with Pakistan's own money, some from US foreign military financing (FMF), some from what is called excess defense articles and some from the coalition support funds (CSF) given to Pakistan for fighting terrorists.

Pakistan's big-ticket conventional military buys include 18 new F-16 C/D Block 50/52 combat aircraft (valued at $1.43 billion-none delivered yet), F-16 armaments, including 500 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles, 1,450 2,000-pound bombs, 500 JDAM tail kits for gravity bombs and 1,600 enhanced paveway laser-guided kits also used for gravity bombs ($629 million), 100 Harpoon anti-ship missiles ($298 million), 500 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles ($95 million), and six Phalanx close-in naval guns ($80 million).

The Pentagon made $4.89 billion worth foreign military sales (FMS) agreements with Pakistan between 2002 and 2008 although the bulk includes the F-16 sales. The US gave $1.9 billion in military financing (FMF) with what they call a "base programme'' of $300 million a year from 2005-2009 and these have been used to buy US military equipment.

What else did Pakistan pay for with this money? Eight P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft and their refurbishment (valued at $474 million), about 5,250 TOW anti-armour missiles ($186 million, 2,007 delivered), more than 5,600 military radio sets ($163 million), six AN/TPS-77 surveillance radars ($100 million), six C-130E transport aircraft and their refurbishment ($76 million), and 20 AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters granted under the EDA, then refurbished ($48 million, 12 delivered, eight pending refurbishment for an additional $65 million).

Pakistan bought some other equipment with a mix of its own money and FMF funds. These include up to 60 Mid-Life Update kits for F-16A/B combat aircraft (valued at $891 million, with $477 million of this in FMF, Pakistan currently plans to purchase 35 such kits), and 115 M-109 self-propelled howitzers ($87 million, with $53 million in FMF).

Pakistan has also been granted US defence supplies as Excess Defense Articles (EDA). While India has been celebrating the arrival of its Phalcon Awacs systems, Pakistan got the Pentagon to transfer three P3-B aircraft as EDA grants which will be modified to house the E-2C-Hawkeye airborne early warning systems worth $855 million. Last week, the Pakistan air force chief announced that these "eyes in the sky'' would be delivered "very soon''.

Pakistan also got 14 F-16A/B combat aircraft and 39 T-37 military trainer jets. To fight terror, Pakistan has been given 26 Bell 412 utility helicopters, along with related parts and maintenance, valued at $235 million. Finally, under 1206 and Frontier Corps Authorities, the US has provided Pakistan with helicopter spare parts, night vision goggles, radios, body armour, helmets, first aid kits, litters and other individual soldier equipment.

Pakistan is not inadequately equipped or trained to fight terror. If it wants, it can fight terror several times over. But what it seems to be preparing for is conflict with India.

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