Strategic Weapons: How Pakistan Gets Screwed

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March 31, 2009: India is paying Israeli firms several hundred million dollars for components, technology and expertise needed to build an effective anti-ballistic missile system. India has already purchased two Israeli Green Pine anti-missile radars. India is apparently impressed by Israel's Arrow anti-ballistic missile system, which can knock down an incoming warhead when it is about a minute away from hitting a target in Israel.

Israel has two batteries of Arrow missiles, and over a hundred missiles available. An Arrow battery has 4-8 launchers, and each launcher carries a six missiles in containers. The Arrow was developed to knock down Scud type missiles fired from Syria, Saudi Arabia or Iraq. The two ton Arrow is being replaced with the 1.3 ton Arrow II, which can shoot down longer range ballistic missiles fired from Iran.

India cannot buy Arrow without permission from the United States. That is because American firms contributed technology to Arrow, and the United States currently needs to maintain good relations with Pakistan (the Indian neighbor with nuclear weapons who is most likely to use them.) However, Israel can assist India in building its own version of Arrow. India already has developed some good anti-missile technology, so what Israel brings to the table are improvements, and experience.

The anti-missile work is part of a $1.4 billion Indian deal with Israel. However, there are accusations that this sale was facilitated by the payment of a $120 million bribe. This sort of corruption has long plagued Indian arms deals, and the government has been going after those receiving the bribes with increasing success. Yet the shady deals continue.

The Israeli contract calls for partial payments based on the achievement of certain technical goals. India is going to pay for results, and only after the results are verified. Given Pakistan's small arsenal of ballistic missiles, an Indian anti-missile system would seriously cripple the Pakistani nuclear threat. Pakistan is not wealthy enough to get into a nuclear arms race, thus the Israeli-Indian anti-missile program leaves Pakistan screwed.

 


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