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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

May 31, 2003

India, Israel, US Alliance

Asia Times reports
[...] WASHINGTON - Immediately after the September 11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon, the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal featured an article arguing that Israel, India and Turkey were Washington's only "allies for the long haul" in the coming war against terrorism.
After mentioning the recently announce Phalcon deal between Israel and India, it suggested that an even bigger deal involving the Arrow was in the works.
Both moves highlight the burgeoning alliance between the two most potent non-Islamic militaries in the Middle East and South Asia, a trend that has the enthusiastic support of Bush administration hawks, particularly in the Pentagon and Vice President Dick Cheney's office. That alliance will again be spotlighted with next month's scheduled visit to India by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

While Israel sees India as a comrade in the fight against Islamic militants, the US has a somewhat broader agenda to pursue with New Delhi, particularly its possible role as a counter-balance to China, which US hawks see as Washington's strategic competitor in Asia. "India is the most overlooked of our potential allies in a strategy to contain China," according to Lloyd Richardson of the Hudson Institute, a think tank very close to the administration

[...] India is already the biggest customer for Israel's sophisticated military industry, which last year ranked fifth in the world among all arms exporters, after the US, the European Union, Russia and Japan. The Phalcon and Arrow deals are likely to propel Israel even higher in the rankings over the next two years, arms experts say. Almost one half of Israel's total military sales last year of $4.2 billion went to India.

But the deal also moves the relationship between Israel and India closer to the vision set out by the Journal back in September, 2001, of an alliance of three non-Muslim states (now, perhaps, minus Turkey) and the US in an existential battle against "Islamic terrorism" and the governments (including, presumably, Pakistan's) that support it.