Israel fueling arms race in South Asia
India receives a delivery of its first Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) plane from Israel amid growing arms race between New Delhi and Islamabad, Press TV reported.
The delivery is the first of three units that Israel Aerospace Industries agreed to sell to India as part of a 2004 deal. "The remaining two are expected to be inducted into the Indian Air Force by 2010," Indian Air Force Spokesman, Wing Commander T.K. Singha said.
Russian-made but packed with Israeli radar, is expected to have a bad omen for the arms race in the already insurgency-hit South Asia region.
The delivery aims to maintain India's air dominance over arch rival Pakistan and will also provide a deterrent to any threat from China on India's eastern frontier.
Pakistan has voiced concern over the acquisition of AWACS aircraft by India and said it would counter the threat by inducting 500 American beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles.
Pakistan's Air chief Air Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman said on Thursday that induction of AWACS by India would trigger a new arms race in the subcontinent.
Suleman also added that Islamabad would match this capability by acquiring its own AWACS by September this year.
Pakistan and India have fought three wars since they secured independence from Britain in 1947.
Relations between the nuclear-armed neighbors have sunk to a new low after militants, allegedly belonging to the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist group, attacked several areas across the Indian port city of Mumbai in November 2008.
New Delhi and Beijing also fought a brief but bloody war over a border dispute in 1962.
China maintains close ties with Pakistan while New Delhi has expressed concerns over Beijing's military cooperation with Islamabad.
This is while senior Pakistani civilian and military officials have frequently accused Israel of plotting a suspected attack on its nuclear instillations.
Israel is considered as India's second-largest arms supplier after Russia since 2007. Tel Aviv is likely to grab the number one slot through a vast array of military agreements it has already signed with New Delhi.
India and Pakistan have also occasionally tested conventional and unconventional weapons since their independence.
Both neighbors have refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and other treaties that restrict developing or testing nuclear weapons.
New Delhi says it was unfair that international treaties only allowed United States, China, Russia, Britain and France to maintain the ultra-destructive weapons.