Sri Lanka seeks F-16 jets from Pakistan - report

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 04 September 2001, 22:51 GMT]
Sri Lanka's President Chandrika Kumaratunga is likely to ask Pakistan's President Musharraf for military planes, including US-built F-16 fighter bombers, helicopters and other military equipment "to meet [Sri Lanka's] urgent defence needs", when she meets Pakistani President General Musharraf during the UN General Assembly session, press reports said Tuesday.

"She is eager to get three F-16 from Pakistan on lease; but due to some legal and practical difficulties, she is willing to go for alternative like fighter aircraft manufactured with joint collaboration of China and Pakistan," Pakistan's 'The News' newspaper reported, quoting unnamed sources. The option of lease or purchase would be tabled once Pakistan responds in affirmative, it added.

f-16.jpgThe question of leasing the US made F-16 planes has two-fold obstacles, the paper said. "Pak-US agreement requires a US clearance for any such transfer of US manufactured planes to another country. In addition, the currently changing situation in South Asia and Pakistan's own defence needs do not allow Pakistan to spare any F-16 planes for use by Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka may opt for some used helicopters, Chinese fighter planes and other military equipment," the paper said.

Reporting from New York, the paper added that "though Pakistani and Sri Lankan diplomats would not confirm or deny the Musharraf-Kumaratunga meeting in New York, sources say that such a meeting between presidents of Sri Lanka and Pakistan is being finalised for a date prior to Musharraf-Vajpayee meeting on September 25."

The News newspaper belongs to the Jang Group, the largest English and Urdu Newspaper publication group of Pakistan.

 

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