China to sell armed drones to Pakistan, state media downplays concerns in India

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A day after China’s state-run media, quoting Pakistan Air Force’s Sherdils Aerobatic Team, reported that the country would sell 48 armed drones to Pakistan, it attempted to justify the deal as enabling Islamabad to combat terrorism.

Pakistan has long been accused of diverting funds and equipment it receives to battle terror and instead, use them at the border with India. As such, the sale of 48 high-end armed drones which are capable of reconnaissance, surveillance and undertaking ground strike missions is likely to be viewed with scepticism. Instead, state-run Chinese media Global Times said in an op-ed on Wednesday that helping Pakistan fight terror would also benefit India and that New Delhi ought not to over-interpret the deal. “Combating terrorism is a priority for Pakistan, but it is also a big concern for India. While the Chinese drones help Pakistan rein in terrorism and improve its security situation in the future, they will also benefit India to some degree,” read the op-ed which further urged all to ‘see the bright side.’

India’s possible concerns, however, won’t be a bolt from the blue because of lessons learnt in the past. Despite receiving billions of dollars to battle terrorism from the United States in years gine by, Pakistan has been unable to reign in home-grown terror networks – a fact US President Donald Trump blatantly highlighted in his first tweet of 2018.

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