India Strikes Israel Military Industries
Is Israel losing another Asian ally?
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A few days before this decision was published, the BBC reported on February 29, that Iran is to accept gold instead of dollars as payment for its oil. This came shortly after Iran announced it would conduct transactions with India in Indian rupees, strengthening the move of Asian economies out of the American dollar financial world. At least China and Russia, and China and Japan, have reached similar agreements. India and China have already announced that they would continue buying Iranian oil after new US and European Union sanctions on oil deals with Iran are imposed on July 1, 2012. There is little doubt India is objecting to Israeli-American violence against Iran and is beginning to realign its finances and commerce. Since Israel is a major provider of the Indian army the process will take time.
Friend or Foe?
Breaking its traditional non-aligned and pro-Arab policy, India established relations with Israel in January 1992. As of now, India is the largest customer of Israeli military equipment and Israel is the second-largest military partner of India after the Russian Federation, with bilateral commerce exceeding US$9 billion per year. This is almost 5% of Israel’s GDP. The links between the two countries extend also to military and intelligence cooperation, including friendly links between Mossad and the parallel Indian external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). Another remarkable testimony of the countries closeness was an Israel Aerospace Industries $2.5 billion deal with India to develop an anti-aircraft system and missiles for the country. In March 2011, India signed a $1 billion deal with Israel's Rafael for a variety of missile-related items. Rafael is the producer of the abovementioned Iron Dome.
In 2008, India supported Israel’s aggressiveness against Iran. Israel’s TecSAR radar satellite was launched by India on January 22, 2008. The Indian PSLV launch-vehicle was chosen by Israel instead of its own Shavit rocket, due to the lower cost of the Indian launcher. Tecsar is an Israeli spy satellite, primarily meant to monitor Iran's military activities. Relations between countries can’t get much closer than this. Yet, things seem to be changing.
IMI (“Taas”—acronym for “Ta’asia Tzvait,” “Military Industry” in Hebrew) can be considered the weapons’ factory of the IDF ground forces. It manufactures firearms, ammunition and military technology, dating back to 1933. This was one of the key industries and institutions that predated the State of Israel, and which were founded as essential precursors to statehood. Its best known product is the militarily obsolete (at least in Israel) Uzi submachine gun. Overall, IMI is Israeli aristocracy. Yet, it is a complicated type of aristocracy. It is owned by the government, which has troubles transforming it into a profitable company. In 2005, Magen—“Defender,” the Small Arms Division of IMI—was privatized, and is now known as IWI (Israel Weapon Industry). However, other divisions of IMI are much more difficult to privatize. Since India was the main customer of IMI, the Indian decision to bar it for a decade, will halt the privatization efforts. An Indian missile hit Israel’s Ministry of Defense.
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