How much are we giving the government of Pakistan in military aid again?
New York Times:
China has agreed to immediately provide 50 JF-17 fighter jets to Pakistan, a major outcome of a visit by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to Beijing this week, Pakistani officials said Thursday.
China and Pakistan have jointly produced the JF-17 aircraft, but the new planes would be equipped with more sophisticated avionics, the officials said. The latest jet fighters would be paid for by China, they said.
The announcement came as Pakistan's already tense relations with the United States soured further after the killing of Osama bin Laden deep inside Pakistan on May 2.
Last week, Pakistan's spy chief denounced the United States in a rare briefing before Parliament in which he condemned the American raid for breaching Pakistan's sovereignty. Parliament, in turn, called for the government to revisit relations with the United States.
Mr. Gilani's visit to Beijing served as a pointed reminder of Pakistani suggestions that the government might seek to recalibrate relations with the United States, using China to offset what many here view as an overdependence on Washington.
Pakistan and China have always been close, seeing India as a common enemy. But making a present of 50 sophisticated jet aircraft is something of an eye opener. No doubt India will now come running to the west to upgrade its air force - something that will give us an opportunity to draw a little closer.
In the end, whatever leverage we lose with Pakistan, we might gain with an up and coming global economic power with an increasingly assertive foreign policy. I'd say that's a good trade off.