On a call with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday expressed India’s concern over Washington’s decision to sell F-16 fighter jet equipment to Pakistan.

The Pentagon had announced the deal worth $450 million (Rs 35,876 crore) on September 7.

Washington has said the deal will enable Pakistan to work with the US in countering terrorism and to prepare for future contingency operations. The sale does not include any new capabilities, weapons, or ammunition.

India, however, believes Islamabad could use the technology for operations against India.

On Wednesday, officials of the foreign ministry had also lodged its objections about the deal at a meeting in New Delhi with US Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu, The Hindu reported.

In an interview with India Today, Lu admitted to hearing several concerns about the deal from Indian officials.

“Let me say this very clearly, this is a safety and maintenance program,” he said. “There is no new aircraft being considered, no new capability and no new weapons system. Some of these aircraft are more than 40 years old and without such assistance, they could be a threat to the pilots and other people.”

The deal between Islamabad and Washington is the first major security assistance to Pakistan after former US President Donald Trump had suspended about $2 billion (Rs 15,940 crore) of security aid to Islamabad in 2018.

Trump had claimed that America’s operations in Afghanistan were being affected because Pakistan provided a haven to terrorists.