Cyber security is one domain in which India can gain a lot from Israel
 
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Common Concerns

Cyber security is one domain in which India can gain a lot from Israel

Prasun K. Sengupta
 

It does not require great strategic acumen to deduce that Israel is one of the few countries which has mutuality of interests with India in every domain of regional security. Therefore, it is a matter of mutual strategic convenience for the two countries to engage in both risk-sharing military-technical cooperation (involving India’s state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation, or DRDO and its Israeli state-owned and private-sector counterparts), and military-industrial cooperation between the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of the two nations. But this is not how it all began in January 1992, and an initial transactional buyer-seller relationship that lasted till 1997. It took five years of lobbying from India’s armed forces to convince the country’s ruling political elite and the ministry of external affairs (MEA) for the need to have a Defence Attaché permanently based in India’s Embassy in Tel Aviv. Only after this it was possible for both the countries to elevate relations to a more visible political and strategic partnership.

Matters moved quickly since then, with the then Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), Gen. Ved Prakash Malik, becoming the first armed services chief to officially visit Israel. Prior to that, the then Secretary DRDO, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, had visited Israel twice in the 18 months prior to May 1998 for laying the foundations of bilateral military-technical cooperation. In late 2001, the then Director-General of Israel’s defence ministry, Maj Gen (retd) Amos Yaron, made an unscheduled stopover in Delhi, while ostensibly on a trip to Bangkok, Thailand, to meet Yogendra Narain, the then defence secretary, to establish a Joint Working Group (JWG) for military-technical and military-to-military cooperation. The JWG, which meets every year alternately in New Delhi and Tel Aviv, regularly updates the roadmaps for military-technical/military-industrial partnerships, plus coordination and sharing of intelligence matters. According to Israel’s foreign defence assistance and defence export organisation (SIBAT), India has emerged as the biggest customer of Israel-origin military hardware, with purchases now reaching USD1.5 billion a year. Between 2002 and 2005, Israeli military exports to India had totaled USD2.76 billion. The year 2006 registered a record purchase of military hardware worth USD1.6 billion in a single year. Israel’s military-industrial complex contributes USD3.5 billion annually to the Israeli economy, and India is now contributing half of it (which constitutes 30 per cent of India’s annual weapons import expenditure).

Cyberbit training simulator
Cyberbit training simulator

 
 
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