U.S. State Department approves Pakistan

OBAMAWASHINGTON: The State Department has approved Pakistan’s request to buy almost $1 billion in U.S.-made attack helicopters, missiles and other equipment aimed at fighting insurgents in the country’s mountainous north and west regions, a report in Wall Street Journal said.

U.S. defense companies are engaged in a three-way tussle with Russia and China to sell weapons to Pakistan, complicated by the need to avoid upsetting neighbor India and its even larger arms’ import market.

The Pentagon on Monday said that Pakistan had requested 15 AH-1Z Viper helicopters made by the Bell arm of Textron Inc alongside 1,000 Hellfire missiles produced by Lockheed Martin Corp and a host of other communications and training equipment with valued at a total of $952 million, according to a notification to Congress, which approves every sale.

The deal would be structured as a foreign military sale between the two governments.

This proposed sale of helicopters and weapon systems will provide Pakistan with military capabilities in support of its counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations in South Asia, said the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which oversees US military exports.

The United States, in January of this year handed over serviceable weapons, ammunition and other sophisticated military equipment to Pakistan that was being used by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops in Afghanistan, the newspaper added.


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