The Bush administration has announced plans to sell an undetermined number of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.

Initial reports indicate Pakistan wants to buy about 24 of the aircraft, but a U.S. State Department spokesman says there is no set limit.

Washington also expressed a willingness to sell sophisticated fighter jets to Islamabad's nuclear rival, India.

The announcement on the sale to Pakistan marks a major policy shift. The United States banned the sale of fighter jets to the South Asian country 15 years ago because of its nuclear weapons program.

Officials say the decision to end the ban is tied to President Pervez Musharraf's strategic decision to stand with the United States in the war on terrorism.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice told the Washington Post newspaper it was meant to solidify and extend relations with both Pakistan and India at a time when they are improving relations with each other.