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Israeli factor in the mounting India-Pakistan tension

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India and Pakistan are once again on the verge of a full-scale war in the aftermath of India's annexation of disputed Kashmir territory. It is an unimaginable scenario as the two South Asian neighbors possess high-tech nuclear arms.

Political analyst Dr. Shahid Masood said on Saturday (August 17) as India and Pakistan are edging towards a military confrontation. We don't name another entity in the equation that is Israel, which has strategic relations with India. "Israel has participated in India-Pakistan military confrontation in February this year," he said.

It may be recalled that an Indian Air Force aircraft was shot down by Pakistan and the captured pilot was immediately repatriated to India by Pakistan as a goodwill gesture. At that time there were rumors that an Israeli pilot was also captured.

Dr. Shahid Masood recalled that in 1980/'81 India and Israel planned an attack on Pakistan's nuclear facilities at Kahuta, near Islamabad.

He went on to say that Pakistan's Shaheen-III Missile with a speed of 2750 km per hour can reach Israel within 13 minutes. "The missile will pass through Iran, Iraq and Jordan, which don't have any anti-missile system to stop the missile. Pakistan is the only country with a capability to hit any Israeli town."

Lt. General (Retired) Ghulam Mustafa said in a TV show on Sunday (August 18) that Shaheen-III Missile's speed is more than 2750 km per hour. It is Mach-8, meaning the missile travels eight times faster than the speed of sound.

The Israeli connection

India and Israel have increased co-operation in military and intelligence ventures since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992. In July 2017, Narendra Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel to mark 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Earlier, in September 2014, after meeting with Modi in New York, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Jerusalem Post "... sky is the limit" for relations between the two countries.

On Netanyahu's visit to India in January 2018 Harsh V. Pant, Head of Strategic Studies Program at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi, wrote that there is now domestic consensus in India that strong ties with Israel are essential for Indian national-security interests.

Israel has now become an important defense supplier for India. The two countries signed an air- and missile-defense deal worth almost $2 billion in April 2017 in what Israel termed the "largest defense contract deal" in its history.

According to Hindustan Times, Israel is among the top three to four arms suppliers to India with sales ranging from Phalcon AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) and Searcher, Heron and Harop UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) to Aerostat and Green Pine radars, Barak anti-missile defense and several types of missiles and laser-guided bombs.

In November 2017, India participated in the Blue Flag exercise in Uvda Air Force Base in southern Israel for the first time, where it sent its elite Garud Commando Force and a Hercules C-130J plane from its "Veiled Vipers" Squadron. Indian and Israeli special forces conducted a range of tactical joint exercises, which included protection of strategic assets, ground infiltration and evacuation.

The mandated role of Garud Commando Force, whose motto - 'Defense by Offence' - matches closely with the task assigned to the special units of the Israeli Air Force.

Tellingly, in 2003, Rediff reported that in September 1968, when the Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) was founded with Rameshwar Nath Kao at its helm, the then-prime minister Indira Gandhi asked him to cultivate Israeli intelligence agency Mossad.

Israel-India plan to attack Pakistan's nuclear facilities

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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