Washington pressures Israel to call off Arrow sale to India
The Israeli government’s plan to sell its Arrow anti-ballistic missile defense system to India may be shelved during Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s visit to New Delhi this week, in response to US opposition to the transaction.
In February, the Indian government received an Israeli invitation to invest $100 million into the Arrow-II anti-ballistic project and to subsequently purchase the system. According to the Sunday Express, the proposition is similar to the offer that was presented to Turkey, after successful missile interception trials.
The US government holds the right to prohibit any sale of the Arrow system seeing as it financed 65 percent of the $2.5 billion project. Last year, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee authorized Israel to use $200 million of its annual two billion dollar military aid package to finance the joint manufacture.
According to a recent report published by the Washington Institute, the sale of the Arrow system to India would backfire on American and Israeli strategic interests. The study predicts that India “might behave more recklessly toward Pakistan,” if it gained the advantage in defense.
Sharon’s four-day visit to India, beginning Monday, September 8, 2003, is the first ever visit by an Israeli premier to the country since both states established diplomatic relations in 1992. New Delhi has asserted that no defense agreement will be signed with Israel during Sharon’s stay, however the sale of the Phalcon airborne warning and control systems (AWACS) is expected to be a topic of discussion, reported Daily Times.
Israel and India have long established tight cooperation between their defense industries. According to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Jewish state is reported to have already furnished India with the Greenpine radar and a Harpy unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)