Monday, March 31, 2008

India and Israel

Now, almost eight years later, India is Israel’s largest arms export market in the world. Sales in 2006 were $1.5 billion, roughly the same as in each of the preceding three years as well. This from Israel’s total arms sales of $4.2 billion in 2006; the India market comprised more than one-third. Sales included upgrades for MIG 21 aircraft and T72 tanks originally purchased from Russia, the Barak anti-missile ship defense system, communications equipment, laser-guided munitions and the Phalcon. The first of five Phalcon AWACs were delivered in 2007. Co-partnerships are now developing between Indian and Israeli firms.

Israeli arms experts are also seeking to sell the Arrow II anti-tactical ballistic missile system to India, which would require U.S. approval due to shared technology in the ATBM system. This would give India a significant missile defense system. The Green Pine radar system has already been sold to India which is a critical component of the overall ATBM system.

The Polaris satellite is Israel’s first equipped with synthetic aperture radar that allows it to take high resolution imagery in all weather conditions. The radar looks through clouds or fog to see objects on the ground. Launched from south India into a polar orbit it offers new coverage of sites in Iran for Israeli defense planners. According to Indian press sources, two more such satellites will be launched by ISRO for Israel in the next few years. The Iranian nuclear program will probably be the principal collection target for these systems. Israel retains full operational control of the Polaris system including what targets are imaged. It is unknown if any intelligence derived from the imagery is shared with third parties.

-Israel & India: New Allies

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