India caucuses opposes F-16 sale

April 1, 2005 at 12:57 PM

WASHINGTON, April 1 (UPI) -- Two U.S. legislators have written to President Bush urging him to stop the sale of F-16 fighters to Pakistan.

Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., and Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., co-chair the Indian caucus on Capitol Hill.

In the joint letter, they say the sale could negatively affect U.S interests in South Asia.

The Bush administration needs congressional approval for its plan to sell the aircraft to Pakistan announced on March 25.

The proposal will now be discussed in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House International Relations Committee, which can block the sale by introducing and passing resolutions of disapproval.

"We urged the president to reconsider the sale of F-16s to Pakistan, as it would undermine the long-term interests of the U.S. in South Asia," said Ros-Lehtinen, a senior member of the International Relations Committee.

"Concerning the sale of F-16s to Pakistan, Congress must sign off on the sale of technology export, as in this case," she added

She emphasized Congress "will carefully scrutinize this proposed sale and consider additional measures to strike a delicate balance, prevent providing an advantage to the Pakistani military and ensure India's security."

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