by DEBKAfile, 31 December 2001

"The highly advanced Israeli-made weapons systems acquired by the Indian army in 2001 figured prominently in the tactical pros and cons of going to war, in New Delhi and Islamabad alike. Revealing this, DEBKAfile ’s military sources name the items imported from Israel as the Green Pine radar system, developed for Israel’s Arrow anti-missile missile, three electronic tracking and command centers and the Rafael version of the Popeye cruise missile.

The war rhetoric on both sides eased slightly today after Pakistan detained 30 militants and shut down three terrorist organizations’ offices. However if war nonetheless erupts, Israeli electronic warfare and naval cruise missiles expert operators will be there on the spot and directly involved.

DEBKAfile’s Indian sources report that at the end of last week, as the war fever mounted, Israeli personnel engaged in constructing, maintenance and operating the new systems in Indian Kashmir and the northern sector of the Indian-Pakistani were evacuated with their families. They left behind a skeleton Israeli crew to keep the electronic systems running smoothly in the event of a flare-up, and a small contingent of Israel naval officers to show their Indian counterparts how to work the Popeye missiles (range 15000 km and capable of carrying nuclear warheads).

Military experts in the United States, India and Pakistan hold the view that the presence of these systems in the Indian army has thus far held off a Pakistan pre-emptive strike against the Indian divisions before they take up their border deployments. A pre-emptive, or surprise assault, would be the best chance for the numerically inferior Pakistani army, with its half million men, to throw the invasion plans of India’s 1.2 million strong army into disarray.

Posted since last April in the western section of the Vale of Kashmir between the towns of Uri and Punch, the Green Pine radar’s strategic value is inestimable. It covers all of Pakistani’s military command centers and bases between Islamabad, the capital, and the Indian frontier. It also permits Indian surveillance of Pakistan’s nuclear center at Kahuta and Sargodha, where Pakistan keeps its Shaheen missiles (capable of delivering nuclear warheads), a homemade version of the Chinese mobile M-11 missiles ...

The Israeli Green Pine radar took to the field last May in the biggest nuclear exercise India ever conducted. Dubbed “Perfect Victory”, the exercise was designed to depict an Indian victory over Pakistan. The 50,000 men and 120 warplanes taking part in the war games practiced deep forays into enemy territory and the takeover and demolition of enemy strategic installations. It was Green Pine’s first experience of a nuclear exercise.