Archive for category India
Israel has implemented a tempory freeze on sales of advanced weapons systems to Turkey, apparently as a result of scathing criticism of Israel by Turkey after the 2008-09 attack by Israel on Gaza. After the attack on Gaza the military cooperation agreement between the two nations was terminated. There has also been problems between Israel and Turkey resulting from the sale of Heron drones to Turkey, which has had many contractual problems.
Here is an excellent UPI article on recent Israel Turkey arms trading issues.
One of the problems outline for Israel is the effects that it has on Israeli air systems testing and training. Turkey had provided airspace for training, and now Israel must find other places, of which Roumania and Hungary have been tried, and India suggested. Turkey’s banning of Israeli training from Turkish air space probably hampered training for a possible air strike on Iran.
This issue provides a window on Israel’s attempts to bully trading partners to get what it wants. It also suggest’s Israel’s vulnerability, since it can obviously be influenced by the actions of its trading partners.
This is one of the few tangible negatives that Israel has sustained as a result of Operation Cast Lead, as Turkey has become more closely aligned with Israel’s most vocal enemies, Syria and Iran.
In terms of drones however Israel gets plenty of training and development opportunities by its drone rentals and sales to many countries in NATO. Israeli arms company personnel are often intimately involved in the deployment of these drones, and thus get valuable experience in operating them in a wide theatre of war.
Turkey has been a valuable ally for Israel, and could be a dangerous enemy. Not because it is likely that Turkey and Israel would ever be in armed conflict, but because Turkey is in NATO, and can veto Israel’s involvement in NATO. Israel values its ties with NATO, and uses its agreements with NATO to integrate its weapons systems with NATO. Without being able to integrate its weapons systems with those of NATO, Israel would be hampered in making weapons sales, especially with NATO countries.
Israel’s military intelligence chief Maj. General Amos Yadlin deflected focus on Israel’s attack on Gaza, and blamed the cooling of relations on Turkey’s drift away from secularism towards ‘radical Islam’.
Robert Gates, US Secretary of Defense has recently expressed his interest in exporting US offensive drones across the world.
But only to friendly countries, of course.
On March 25, 2010, Reuters reported that the US aerospace industry believed that US demand for drones would double in the next five years, after rising 600% since 2004. They also hoped for international demand.
Gates was speaking at a US Senate hearing. It wasn’t clear what countries he was thinking of, but the US appears to be losing the drones market to aggressive Israeli arms sellers who’ve sold or leased drones to dozens of countries, including many in NATO.
The US has only sold drones to two countries, Italy and Britain, and is limited by the terms of the Missile Technology Control Regime, which has 34 signatories, including many of the NATO countries. The 34 member list, has many countries which have purchased or leased drones from Israel, which is not on the list.
Among the countries receiving drones however will be Pakistan, which will receive 12 RQ-7 Shadow surveillance UAVs as part of a billion dollar to Pakistan from the Coalition Support fund.
In January, President Asif Ali Zardari spoke to Gates about the issue of giving control of the drones to Pakistani forces. Zardari told Gates that the use of armed drones to in the frontier territories had led to anti-American anger. He stated “that people would be less critical if the drones were used by Pakistani troops.”
This appears to be a Pakistani request for the US to supply them with armed drones and the capacity to carry out assassination programmes on their own territory.
While Zardari made the request specifically with respect to fighting extremists, a Pakistan armed with missile carrying drones poses an obvious threat to India, which expressed its alarm.
India wants assurances that the drones aren’t ‘targeted’ at India.
Robert Gates has been one of the strongest advocates for the US drone assassination programme in northern Pakistan.
Gates has frequently expressed concern that drone technology would fall into the hands of enemies, without specifying who he might mean (Russia?, Iran?), but noting that:
“My worry would be capabilities like this getting into the hands of non-state actors who could use them for terrorist purposes.”
Gates seems oddly concerned that he might violate the terms of the Missile Technology Control Regime. Most of the members of the regime have been acquiring drones with happy abandon, either by building them for themselves, or buying them elsewhere, principally from America’s chief ally, Israel. According to many the Israeli technology is leading edge. And Israeli companies have provided drones to many regimes with questionable intentions, most notable Georgia.