Jerusalem: Describing India as a long-standing strategic partner in fight against terror, Israel has said that it will “not do anything that could undermine India’s security” in a strong bid to re-assure New Delhi that reports of arms sale to Pakistan were incorrect.
“Israel has a long-standing strategic relationship with India, a democracy that also understands what it means to fight terror, and a country we see as a strategic anchor in global affairs”, Israel’s ministry of defence said.
“The State of Israel would not do anything that could undermine India’s security”, it said adding, “The State of Israel strongly denies selling any military equipment to Pakistan”.
Earlier, senior officials at the Israeli Foreign Ministry also categorically denied any such sale.
“Israel does not export defence equipment to Pakistan. That is our stated policy and is implemented completely,” they said.
Israeli daily, Ha’aretz, on Tuesday quoting a British Government report said that Tel Aviv has exported security equipment over the past five years to Pakistan and four Arab countries with which it has no diplomatic relations.
The report, which deals with British Government permits for arms and security equipment exports, says that in addition to Pakistan, Israel has exported such equipment to Egypt, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco.
The report was released by Britain’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which oversees security exports and publishes regular reports on permits granted or denied to purchase arms, military equipment or civilian items that are monitored because they can be put to security uses.
British authorities are said to have processed hundreds of Israeli applications to purchase military items containing British components between January 2008 and December 2012 for use by the Israel Defence Forces or to be used into systems exported to third countries.
Israel’s ministry of defence said that it “will be liaising with the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the body responsible for export licensing, in order to receive the necessary clarifications regarding their official reports”.
In 2011, Israel reportedly sought to purchase British components to export various systems to Pakistan, including radar systems, electronic warfare systems, head-up cockpit displays (HUDs), parts for fighter jets and aircraft engines, optic target acquisition systems, components of training aircraft, and military electronic systems.
In 2010, Israel applied for permits to export electronic warfare systems and HUDs with British components to Pakistan, the Haaretz newspaper quoted the report as saying.
Reacting to the report, the Pakistani military rubbished it as “misleading”.
India is Israel’s largest buyer of defence equipment and analysts say if the reports are true it can prove damaging to the strategic relations evolving between the two countries.
Almost 50 per cent of Israeli defence exports were said to be to India about a few years ago.
Some analysts in India had raised concerns when Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf had initiated moves to normalise ties with Israel pointing out that New Delhi could lose out the edge it enjoys over its neighbour due to access to certain Israeli defence equipments.
Israel also sought permits to supply to Egypt and Morocco with Israeli electronic warfare systems and HUD systems that use British parts the same year.
Britain reportedly turned down Israel’s request to obtain military systems intended for export to Russia (optical target acquisition systems), Sri Lanka (aircraft engines), India (aircraft engines and satellite radar), Turkmenistan (gun mountings) and Azerbaijan (aircraft engines).