US' move to send Taiwan weapons worth ₹2,838 crore likely to provoke China; here's why
Washington: The US on Friday announced USD 345 million in military aid for Taiwan. According to reports, this is the Biden administration's first major package drawing on the US stockpiles to help Taiwan counter China. The White House's announcement said the package would include defense, education and training for the Taiwanese. Washington will send man-portable air defense systems, or MANPADS, intelligence and surveillance capabilities, firearms and missiles, according to two US officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters ahead of the announcement. US lawmakers have been pressuring the Pentagon and White House to speed weapons to Taiwan. The goals are to help it counter China and to deter Beijing from considering an attack. The objective is to provide Taipei enough weaponry that it would make the price of invasion too high for the mighty PLA. While Chinese diplomats protested the move, Taiwan's trade office in Washington said the US decision to pull arms and other materiel from its stores provided "an important tool to support Taiwan's self-defense." In a statement, it pledged to work with the United States to maintain "peace, stability and the status quo across the Taiwan Strait." The package is in addition to nearly $19 billion in military sales of F-16s and other major weapons systems that the US has approved for Taiwan. Delivery of those weapons has been hampered by supply chain issues that started during the COVID-19 pandemic and have been exacerbated by the global defense industrial base pressures created by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The difference is that this aid is part of a presidential authority approved by Congress last year to draw weapons from current US military stockpiles - so Taiwan will not have to wait for military production and sales. This gets weapons delivered faster than providing funding for new weapons The Pentagon has used a similar authority to get billions of dollars worth of munitions to Ukraine.