Israeli Commitment To India Gives Indian Leaders Confidence They Can Beat Pakistan Without Devastation

by DEBKAfile

8 June 2002

According to DEBKA-Net- Weekly’s military sources in New Delhi, a group of Israel electronic warfare experts is helping the Indian army set up and operate six early warning stations along the 750-km Line of Control dividing disputed Kashmir, for picking up movements of military forces, armed men and explosives on the Pakistani side, and jamming the electronic surveillance instruments Pakistan trains on Indian territory. These stations are backed up by smaller electronic tracking and command centers, some mobile, and 10 bases operating Israel-made unmanned aerial vehicles armed with anti-tank weapons systems capable of demolishing fortifications, as well as reconnaissance.

According to our sources in New Delhi, India is the only country to which Israel has sold drones of its manufacture that are capable of firing missiles, while also training local operators in their use. The pilot-less aircraft can stay aloft on reconnaissance and interception missions for up to 36 hours and penetrate as far as 800 km (500 miles) into Pakistan. The plane Pakistan air force jets shot down Saturday was just inside the frontier over the Punjab town of Lahore.

The burgeoning military exchanges between India and Israel, going back 12 years, have placed more than one group of Israeli personnel inside troubled Kashmir.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military sources in the subcontinent report another group instructing Indian officers in the operation of the Arrow intercept missile’s Green Pine radar, the most effective system in India’s arsenal for detecting the launch of a Pakistani nuclear-tipped missile. Indian defense minister George Fernandes has urgently applied through the Indian-Israeli liaison officer General Uzi Dayan for a third Green Pine system, even on a year’s loan, for deployment south of New Delhi, across from Pakistan’s Baluchistan and Sindh provinces.

Israel is in a dilemma. While eager to become India’s top supplier of advanced weapons systems and glad of the developing bilateral relationship, Israel will be hard put to find a spare Green Pine system in its emergency anti-missile arsenal – even for tens of millions of dollars – given the perilous Middle East situation, current and potential. Israeli defense chiefs must prepare for a possible US military offensive against Iraq in the coming months bringing forth an Iraqi reprisal against Israeli targets. (See separate article on American war preparations.)

This radar system was developed as a vital component of Israel’s anti-missile defenses. Israel will reply to the Indian request after checking first with Washington, given that the Arrow and its systems are a co-production.

Across the Kashmir border, Chinese electronic warfare experts are instructing Pakistani officers. Indian military experts, questioned by DEBKA-Net-Weekly, reveal that some of the Chinese specialists received their electronic warfare training from Israeli instructors in China. The sources rate Chinese electronic equipment as far inferior to India’s.

Outside Kashmir, at air bases in western and northern India, Israeli air force flight and bombing instructors are teaching Indian pilots, especially reservists called up for duty, how to use smart bombs and advanced weapons systems precisely and effectively. India recently bought a large stock of smart air-to-ground missiles from Israel as well as from other countries, for precision- and carpet-bombing of terror bases and Pakistani military bases in a full-scale war.

The heightened Israeli military presence in India is stoking one of Pakistan’s deepest forebodings. Recalling how Israel bombed Iraq’s first nuclear reactor to extinction exactly 21 years ago this week, Pakistani leaders fear the Israeli air force will divulge to a select group of Indian flight crews the most advanced methods for destroying atomic reactors and weapons depots.
Iran appears to share this concern.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military sources say that, in mid-May, Iranian military intelligence asked Pakistan to verify information received that an Israeli bomber squadron had arrived in south India, possibly assigned with knocking out Iran’s nuclear reactor at Bushehr, now in the last stages of construction by the Russians. Iran believes Israel has already carried out one attempt, which failed.

Israel naval officers are also to be found in naval bases on India’s Arabian Sea coast. Under top-secret naval cooperation accords, Israel has supplied India with ship-to-ship and cruise missiles, along with instructors, that can hit strategic targets deep inside Pakistani territory. Another secret military cooperation agreement provides for a joint Indian-Israeli naval presence in the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean approaches to the Persian Gulf.