Report: Israel won't stop selling arms to India
By ARIEH O'SULLIVAN
JERUSALEM (November 6) - Israeli officials have reportedly quietly rejected repeated calls by the Clinton administration to halt sales of arms and military know-how to India as part of the United States sanctions imposed following its nuclear bomb tests.
According to the recent edition of the US-based Defense News, Israeli officials were quoted as saying that Israel reserves the right to examine each proposal on its own merits.
Washington applied economic sanctions and an embargo on exporting military equipment to India and Pakistan after each detonated nuclear bombs in May.
Western nations fell in line, but one Israeli diplomatic source said the sanctions are "not holding water," since the cut-throat arms market needs any client it can get.
Washington has reportedly asked key arms suppliers to the sub-continent, like Russia and Israel, to stop the sales.
Russia has opposed sanctions against India and is about to sign a 10-year bilateral defense cooperation agreement.
Israel has sold ammunition, patrol boats, and electronic warfare components to India's navy, and El-Op, Tamam, and Tadiran are currently shortlisted to upgrade about 1,500 of its T-72M1 tanks.
But according to Defense News, Washington particularly targeted Israel because of a number of sensitive arms deals with India on the horizon.
Sources said that America was concerned over a possible $1 billion deal to provide India with an advanced phased-array early warning system called Falcon, which is installed on a Russian-manufactured Ilyushin-76 plane.
The system is completely Israeli developed, so Washington does not have the automatic veto it does over other weapons systems - like the Arrow anti-ballistic missile - which contain US-made components or which the US helps fund.
Indian Ambassador Ranjan Mathai confirmed that India is purchasing military equipment from Israel, but declined to go into details.
"We do require defense items, and we acquire these from companies around the world, including Israeli companies who win the tenders," he told The Jerusalem Post.
Defense Ministry officials declined to comment on the report. Israeli diplomats, while declining to refer directly to military sales, said there is no problem with Washington over Israel's ties with India.
"There is no conflict between us. Nations are known to agree to disagree," said one official.
There were suggestions that America is trying to tie Israel's hands so that it can sell to India itself.
US officials said that they are confident Israel wouldn't sell weapons or weapons systems that would aid in India's controversial nuclear program or in some way be redirected to enemies of the state.
"I'm confident we reached an understanding," said one US official.
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