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Five strong reasons why PM Modi should visit Israel

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017


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India treats Israel as its mistress, happy to engage intimately in private, but hesitant to
acknowledge the relationship in public.

That’s the view reportedly shared by Israeli officials toward India. They are not entirely
wrong in their judgment of India when it comes to bilateral relations between the two

India’s friendship with Israel is surprisingly low-key, despite the two countries enjoying a
burgeoning defense and trade relationship. As of 2014, Israel was among India’s top three
defense equipment suppliers, and the total bilateral trade between the two democracies stood
at $4.52 billion, according to Indian embassy at Tel Aviv.

According to historic accounts, Israel supported India during its war with Pakistan in 1971.
The extent of cooperation between the two countries is, however, still a subject of
speculation. During the 1999 Kargil War, Israel reportedly supplied mortars and ammunition
to Indian ground forces, beside fixing up the Indian Air Force with laser-guided missiles.

Cheerleaders of stronger India-Israel relationship blame India’s Congress Party for what they
say are underdeveloped relations between the two countries. Congress in the past has been
wary of supporting Israel too openly, lest it upsets oil-rich Gulf kingdoms who have been
critical of Tel Aviv for its alleged human rights abuses against Palestinians. India relies
heavily on oil imports from the Gulf monarchies and Iran, none of them viewing Israel

However, the current Indian administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to be
shedding India’s age-old reluctance in veering close to Israel. The Indian government in 2015
abstained from voting on a United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) resolution
condemning Israeli forces for committing “war crimes”, which was seen as a significant shift
from New Delhi’s earlier policy of not taking sides in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Many analysts saw the UN vote as India coming out from “under the carpet”.

It will be a long-shot to state how India-Israel relations will play out in the longer run. To
begin with, here are five reasons why PM Modi should visit Israel sooner than later.

1. No Indian PM has visited Israel yet

Israel has been of great help to India militarily, being among few of India’s tried and tested
friends. However, India’s Congress Party, right since India’s independence in 1947, has been
wary of forging closer ties with Tel Aviv due to different moral considerations.

It was not until 1992 that India and Israel established full diplomatic relations, and it took
another decade for the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit India in 2003. The visit of Ariel
Sharon came during the reign of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, a senior colleague of
Modi at the BJP.

However, an Indian Prime Minister is yet to visit Israel. Prime Minister Modi was scheduled
to pay a visit to the Middle-East country last year, but the visit kept getting delayed. Modi is
now scheduled to visit Israel this year.

2. A powerful voice in the US Congress

The influence the powerful Jewish lobby enjoys in the US Congress is an open secret.

In the 1990s, supporters of free Kashmir in the US, reportedly under pressure from America’s
Jewish lobby, negotiated the release of Israeli hostages abducted by separatist militants in
Jammu and Kashmir.

As American President-elect Donald Trump makes overtures toward Israel even before he
has assumed office, a closer India-Israel relationship may well be in India’s favour as to how
the Trump administration views the world. Trump recently rattled supporters of two-state
solution after supporting a proposal to move the US embassy in Israel to the disputed city of

While a Trump presidency looks like a win-win for Israel, India can hope to ride of Tel
Aviv’s coattails to gain a greater influence in the Trump administration.

3. India-Israel alliance could serve as counterweight to Pakistan’s growing influence

India’s arch rival Pakistan has traditionally been more closer to the Islamic countries in the
Middle-East than India, owing primarily to sharing the common thread of Islam. Israel, on
the other hand, has been a steadfast ally of India, and has even supported New Delhi
logistically in two of its armed confrontations with Islamabad.

There couldn’t be a more critical time for India to forge closer relations with Israel, as India’s
tried and tested ally Russia takes a more neutral stand in India-Pakistan relations. India risks
being cornered alone in the region unless it develops closer military relationships with other

A closer partnership with Israel, with a reputation for strong military capability, seems to be a
step in the right direction for India.

Pakistan and Israel don’t have formal diplomatic relations, a symptom of deep hostility
between the two countries due to Pakistan’s vocal support for Palestine. The governments of
two countries were involved in a heated row last month in the wake of a fake news article
quoting a former Israeli defense minister threatening to destroy Pakistan.

4. India could benefit from Israel’s expertise in defense and civil technology

The two countries enjoy a strong counter-terrorism relationship, with both seen as victims of
Islamist terrorism. Israel reportedly agreed to supply India with 10 Unmanned Aerial
Vehicles (UAVs) back in 2015, with the countries also set to sign defense deals worth $3
billion when PM Modi visits the Middle-East country this year.

Israel has also helped India greatly in modernizing its agricultural practices, with the
countries collaborating to start a Center of Excellence for Vegetables in the northern state of
Haryana to help Indian farmers increase India’s agricultural practices. As of 2013, around 50
percent of India’s workforce was engaged in agriculture but it generated just 13 percent of the
country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

India, which will overtake China as the world’s most populous country, has a huge stake in
maintaining its food security.

5. Close intelligence cooperation

India’s intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) is believed to enjoy a
close intelligence sharing partnership with Israel’s Mossad.

At the time of R&AW’s inception in 1968, then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
reportedly asked Indian intelligence officials to forge a partnership with Mossad, with the
common Islamist threats that both the countries faced reportedly in the back of her mind.

A stronger India Israel relationship could further cement the strong intelligence ties the two
countries already share.

High Altitude Flight Acceptance test of CE20 Engine

conducted successfully
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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

By: Defence News

GSLV MKIII, future launch vehicle of ISRO, capable of launching 4-ton class spacecraft in
Geo Transfer Orbit (GTO) is in the advanced stage of realization.

It consists of two solid strap-ons (S200) motors, one earth storable liquid core stage (L110)
and the indigenously developed C25 cryogenic stage. The C25 stage is powered by CE20
cryogenic engine.

The first CE20 flight engine acceptance test was successfully conducted for duration of 25s in
high altitude simulation test facility. This flight acceptance is an important milestone for
ISRO as it could successfully cross the major engine development endeavors in the maiden
attempt. This engine was conceived, configured, designed, fabricated and developed by
Liquid Propulsion Systems Center (LPSC).

CE20 Flight Engine for GSLV MKIII (LVM3)-D1 Mission ::

LPSC is the center for design, development and realization of liquid propulsion stages for
ISRO's Launch Vehicles. Development of fluid control valves, transducers, propellant
management devices for vacuum conditions and other key components of liquid propulsion
systems are also under the purview of LPSC.

To test the Engine at flight identical conditions, High Altitude Test (HAT) facility was
established at IPRC, Mahendragiri. This facility allows testing of the CE20 engine at its full
area ratio in vacuum condition which otherwise would experience flow separation at sea level
ambient pressures.

The successful engine testing in high altitude condition was preceded by multiple tests on two
engines with sea level nozzle divergent (area ratio 10). The development test conducted on
these engines provided confidence in the design. The design of the flight nozzle was also
validated in the medium duration High Altitude Test program.

The Engine High Altitude Test Program contained a series of high altitude tests (5 hot tests
with a cumulative duration of 41.20s) to demonstrate the vacuum ignition, validate the nozzle
performance, propellant flow build up characteristics, chill down performance and
demonstrate the ignition margins. All the test objectives were successfully achieved in this
test program. The testing of engine in HAT facility has also helped in finalizing the engine
start and shut down sequence for flight. Summing up, the test program has imparted good
confidence on the performance and functioning of CE20 Engine in GSLV MKIII (LVM3)-D1

The realization of flight stage for the GSLV MKIII (LVM3)-D1 mission is in progress and
the first mission is expected by early 2017.

Can China’s Army Really Capture New Delhi in 2 Days?

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Monday, January 16, 2017

By: The Quint

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“It would take China's motorised troops 48 hours and its paratroops 10 hours to reach India's
capital if war broke out,” a Chinese State television channel boldly proclaimed.

This is not the first time China has tried to use rhetoric as a deterrence strategy but it comes
as probably the first one that is so specific. Interestingly, this also comes on the back of
Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat’s pointed comment on honing India’s Cold Start
strategy for Pakistan.

Does the Chinese state TV’s statement come as nothing more than a deterrence tool, or are
the claims viable?

‘A Ridiculous Remark Made Without Any Practicality’

Experts and retired army officers were quick to rubbish this as illogical rhetoric, and
questioned the logistics of the provocative claim. The ill-thought-out remark shows the level
of understanding of the people who’ve made it, says retired colonel Rohit Agarwal. Speaking
to The Quint, he breaks the comment down and analyses its impracticality.

For motorised troops to infiltrate the mountainous terrain of the north-eastern border of India
and advance further inside is not possible, he says.

If you’re talking about motorised troops, you need to first look at the terrain. Where will
those troops come from? All of our north-eastern border is mountainous, so, even if they plan
on using that route for their troops, how far can they advance?
- Rohit Agarwal, Retired Colonel, Indian Army

As far as the paratroops are concerned, anyone can drop paratroops anywhere, says a former
Indian army commander to The Quint. Putting the situation in perspective, he said:

If it takes their paratroops 10 hours to reach Delhi then theoretically it will take even our
paratroops the same time to reach Beijing.
- Rohit Agarwal, Retired Colonel, Indian Army

Agarwal explains that depending on the flying time, and the time taken to prepare, why just
10 hours? One can drop paratroopers anywhere anytime, but what thereafter? What
possibilities will they have after landing in foreign territory? Will it be a clandestine
operation? If so, what will it lead to? It would then be a full-scale escalation, he added.

You can drop paratroopers in Delhi as and when you like, but what will they do once they
reach the ground? So, I think it’s just rhetoric.
- Rohit Agarwal, Retired Colonel, Indian Army

Agarwal says it’s difficult to discern what might have prompted the state channel to issue the
remark. But China is always looking to send messages and threats to India or even United
States, says Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal (ret’d).

This claim is beyond ridiculous. It’s saying their motorised troops will reach Delhi in 48
hours – how will they cross the Himalayas?
- Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal (ret’d)

Further, a former Army commander explains that notwithstanding all the disputes India has
with China and Pakistan, the chances of a war are extremely low.

This is nothing but a figment of imagination of the television channel and a matter of who
they’re quoting and how. It’s just imaginations running wild and typical punchline reporting
by the state channel.
- Former Army Commander

The Chinese state TV’s comment comes without context and, seeing the experts’ views, is
being interpreted as mere rhetoric – thus negating any deterrence effect it may have sought to

Use of nuclear weapons in South Asia can’t be ruled out:

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Monday, January 16, 2017

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South Asia is among a few regions in the world where nuclear weapons could be used in a
regional conflict, the outgoing US Vice President Joe Biden warned on Saturday.

In a recent speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, Mr

Biden hoped that the incoming Trump administration would continue America’s leading role
in reducing nuclear weapons around the globe.

“Not just North Korea, but Russia, Pakistan, and others have made counterproductive moves
that only increase the risk that nuclear weapons could be used in a regional conflict in
Europe, South Asia, or East Asia,” he said.

“Working with Congress, the next administration will have to navigate these dangers and — I
hope — continue leading the global consensus to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our
Mr Biden urged Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the US Congress to rise above
party politics and deal with the nuclear issue with the seriousness it deserves.

“Nuclear security is too important to be a party policy, for our nation and for the world.
Although we no longer live in the daily dread of nuclear confrontation, the dangers we face
today require a bipartisan spirit,” he said.

“The challenge is looming on the horizon. While the vast majority of international
community understands that the world is more dangerous when more nations and people
wield nuclear weapons, there are still those who seek to grow their arsenals and develop new
types of nuclear weapons,” he warned before naming Pakistan among the nations that were
doing so.

Pakistan also has warned against the dangers of a nuclear conflict in South Asia and wants
the international community, particularly the United States, to help resolves its tensions with

Pakistani diplomats in Washington also referred to a recent statement by the Indian army
chief, General Bipin Rawat, who publicly confirmed last week that India did have a Cold
Start doctrine.

Gen Rawat is the first senior Indian official to do so. Previous Indian chiefs avoided using the
term Cold Start and preferred calling it a “proactive strategy”.

Cold Start is the Indian operational plan for launching ground and air strikes inside Pakistan
before its defensive formations launch a counter-offensive. The Indian media described Gen
Rawat’s acknowledgment of a Cold Start doctrine, in an interview to India Today, as a
radical departure from New Delhi’s previous policy and intended to send a message to

Pakistan says it would counter the Indian move by relocating defensive formations close to
the Indian border, and warned that it would be forced to use “tactical nuclear weapons” if
India ever launched cross-border attacks. Tactical weapons are usually delivered by short-
range ballistic missiles and could effectively counter a Cold Start strike.

The Pakistanis also welcome international mediation for resolving this and other disputes —
particularly Kashmir — with India and warn that ignoring these issues could lead to yet
another war between South Asia’s two nuclear-armed nations.

The Indians, however, oppose any outside intervention in their disputes with Pakistan,
insisting that such disputes should only be discussed in bilateral meetings. But bilateral talks
too have failed to produce any results and are rare.

India also says that terrorism is a greater threat to peace in South Asia than any other disputes
and accuses Pakistan of continuing to encourage cross-border terrorist attacks.

Terrorism is one issue in which India welcomes outside intervention and wants the
international community to use its influence to stop the alleged cross-border terrorist
Pakistan dismisses these charges as part of an Indian propaganda campaign to malign

MTCR Membership brought enormous benefits to India

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Monday, January 16, 2017

By: Day After India

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Amid huge hue and cry over the Indian bid to the NSG membership, India silently went on to
become member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in mid 2016 — an
Indian diplomatic achievement which was undermined when India entered the elite MTCR
group and the membership is still undermine even by the Indian diplomatic experts. May be
its India’s diplomatic ploy to keep its MTCR membership benefits under cover and they are
not even discussing its benefits that helped them stop any such talks floating in either local or
any global media organization.

The membership not only helped New Delhi to upgrade its supersonic missile Brahmos but
enabled India to go up in global supply chains of these technologies and that is why it is
investing in projects like the upgrade of Brahmos. That it would like to become a legit
supplier is the reason why it is willing to put its supply plans to international scrutiny by
having joined the MTCR. While there are statements that are alarmists on both sides, it could
be useful to consider other and better-reasoned objectives for any development such as this.
Yes, it applies both ways. Otherwise, we will be stuck with the security dilemma.

India joined the MTCR on June 9, 2016 prior to the formal plenary held in Busan (South
Korea) on October 17-21, 2016 primarily thanks to the assistance of Russia. As such, India
immediately decided to benefit from its entry into the group by deciding on to the
enhancement of the range of its supersonic cruise missiles beyond their previously known

Despite the fact that India is heading towards the advancement of its missiles after joining the
34 nation group where, MTCR actually work to restrict the proliferation of missiles, complete
rocket systems, unmanned air vehicles, and related technology for those systems capable of
carrying a 500 kilogram payload at least 300 kilometres, as well as systems intended for the
delivery of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

India and Russia have agreed to extend the range of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles
beyond the current 300 km. The proposal to increase the range has been under consideration
for a long time, but it is now formalized after India became a MTCR member this year. It has
also been mentioned in the Indian press that only minor changes will be enough to extend the
range of BrahMos missiles up to 372 miles.

BrahMos, is a joint venture between the Russian Federation’s NPO Mashinostroeyenia and
India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) who have together formed
BrahMos Aerospace. The name BrahMos is a portmanteau formed from the names of two
rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia. It is a short-range ramjet
supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land.

It needs to be taken into account that Russia has very bluntly welcomed India’s entry into the
MTCR group. Russia itself believes that it is a key anti-proliferating member of the group.
The membership for India has definitely eased space and missile collaboration with Russia,
which could not supply cryogenic engines and other dual use technology missiles to India,
because it was bound by MTCR norms. This is because of the fact that the MTCR guidelines
prohibit its members from transfer, sale or joint production of missiles beyond 300-km range
to countries outside the group. As such India now has the license to increase the range of its
missile jointly with Russia.

This joint step by India and Russia is an offensive move that points towards Pakistan, as it
was very difficult for the BrahMos with just a 300 km range to target inside Pakistan. After
enhancing the range the missile will be able hit anywhere inside Pakistan, and thus has vast
regional implications. Indeed, this could be worrisome not only for Pakistan, but also for

An Indian military official stated at some point of discussion, that “our threat perceptions and
security concerns are our own, and how we address these by deploying assets on our territory
should be no one else’s concern.” The statement depicts the aggressive and offensive mode of
the Indian mind making. A greater range for the BrahMos would imply that India’s power to
strike would get an unprecedented fillip.

Last but not the least, it could be taken from the above that as India is doing this right after
gaining MTCR membership, one has to wonder what it would do if its dream comes true of
obtaining NSG membership. Such membership would, for sure, lead the way for India to
enhance its uranium reserves for military usage.

Analytically, China stonewalled India’s entry into the NSG at the recent June Plenary as it
has an impact on the country being an active member of the group, but it could not stall
India’s membership to the MTCR seeing that China is not a member. Nevertheless, India is
undoubtedly spending more and more in developing its tremendous firepower and strike
capabilities. This is alarming for the world in general and the region in particular.