Raytheon's Mark-54 Lightweight 12.75 inch anti-submarine warfare (ASW) torpedo

Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday said the sale of anti-ship missiles by the US to India was “disturbing” and would "destabilise" the region.

The US State Department this week notified Congress of its determination to sell Harpoon air-launched anti-ship missiles and Mark 54 lightweight torpedoes worth USD 155 million to India to enhance its deterrent capabilities against "regional threats" and to bolster its homeland defence.

Addressing a media briefing here, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said the sale of the missiles by the US to India was disturbing.

“The sale of such missile systems, along with technical assistance and logistic support at the time when there is a global effort to fight the pandemic is particularly disturbing…This will destabilise the already volatile situation in South Asia,” she said.

India's Shyena is a processor based torpedo which incorporates solid-state electronics, digital technology and has been equipped with an integrated Active/Passive sensor package for homing, this torpedo is similar to Raytheon's Mark 54 lightweight torpedoe

Farooqui again contended that there was a high possibility of India conducting a "false flag operation" while global efforts are directed towards combating the coronavirus pandemic.

She said Pakistan had articulated its concerns regarding the sale of sophisticated weapons to India which would further destabilise the region.

Replying to a question about the restoration of diplomatic relations up to High Commissioners level between Pakistan and India, Farooqi said Pakistan always wanted good relations with all neighbouring countries.

“India needs to create an enabling environment for a meaningful engagement that could lead to resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions,” she said.

The relations between the two nations strained following the Balakot strike when the Indian Air Force jets bombed a Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp in Pakistan on February 26 last year to avenge the killing of 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel in the Pulwama terror attack on February 14.

Pakistan retaliated on February 27 by attempting to target Indian military installations.

The ties further nose-dived after the Indian government abrogated Article 370 that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir in August last. Pakistan downgraded diplomatic relations with India and expelled Indian High Commissioner.

India has maintained that Jammu and Kashmir is an internal matter of India and does not want anyone’s interference in it.

During the press conference, Farooqui said the statement issued by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) on April 13 claiming denial of food aid to minorities in Pakistan was not based on facts and seems to have relied on inaccurate sources.

“In response to the unprecedented challenge posed by COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Pakistan is protecting all of its citizens without any discrimination,” she said.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) issued a statement expressing concern over the denial of food aid to Pakistani Hindus and Christians amid the COVID-19 lockdown in Pakistan.