Subject: Lawmakers Warn Govt. The Risks of Buying US F-16 Aircrafts

Indonesian lawmakers ask government to be wary of US offer to sell F-16s

JAKARTA, March 3 (Xinhua) -- Indonesian lawmakers said on Monday the central government should be wary of the U.S. offer to sell its F-16 Fighting Falcon jet fighters to Indonesia.

"The House of Representatives' Commission I has never recommended the purchase of U.S.-made F-16 jet fighters because of various considerations, particularly the threat of embargoes," Permadi from the Commission I that responsible for defense, information and foreign affairs was quoted by national Antara News Agency as saying.

Permadi said the U.S. and its allies had often discriminated between countries favoring and opposing their policies.

"In fact, jet fighters made by other countries such as Brazil are quite good and will never be subject to an embargo," he said.

He said the House's Commission I had only recommended that the government go ahead with its plan to buy more Russian-made Sukhoi jet fighters to improve the Indonesian Air Force's combat capabilities.

Another House Commission I member, Andreas Pareira, shared Permadi's view and said the government should look into the motives behind the US offer.

"What are the motives behind the US offer? I wonder, because nothing in this world is free. The U.S. made the offer not because they are generous," he said.

When visiting Indonesia late last month, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told the press that the U.S. was ready to offer support and training for ongoing military reforms in Indonesia and help the country update its fleet of military transport aircraft.

Indonesian Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono also confirmed that Indonesia was considering buying six F-16 jet fighters to increase its air force's combat readiness.

U.S. once broke off all military ties with Indonesia in 1992, accusing Indonesia of brutal crackdown on pro-independence protesters in Timor-Leste.

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