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March 10, 2019

The Indo-Israeli nexus


March 10, 2019

Every year, Israel supplies a billion dollars worth of advanced killing machines to India. India being the world’s largest buyer of arms Israel has now become India’s second-largest arms supplier. On February 26 at 0330 hrs, Indian Air Force’s twelve Mirage 2000s entered Pakistan carrying SPICE 2000 and Popeye air-to-surface missiles. The SPICE (smart, precise-impact, cost-effective) is an electro-optics, GPS guided guidance kit made by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, headquartered in Haifa, Israel (Popeye is made by the same company).

In 1992, Indian passport-holders were not allowed to travel to Israel. In 1997, Israel’s president Weizman sold India Barak-1 missiles to counter Pakistan’s Harpoon sea-skimming anti-ship missiles. In 1998, Israel did not condemn India’s ‘Operation Shakti’, the five nuclear bomb test explosions.

In 1999, Israel supported India’s ‘Operation Vijay’ by supplying unmanned aerial vehicles, satellite imagery and laser-guided bombs (India lacked targeting equipment; Israeli technicians were flown in to install Litening targeting pods).

In 2000, the Israeli Navy tested Submarine Launched Cruise Missiles (SLCM) in the Indian Ocean. In 2003, the Indian Air Force bought Phalcon AWACS from Israel Aerospace Industries for a billion dollars (in order to maintain air superiority). In 2005, India bought Heron, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles, from Israel’s Aerospace Industries for $220 million.

In 2007, the Indian navy and air force signed a $2.5 billion Barak-8 missile deal with Israel Aerospace, their biggest ever. In 2008, India launched a military satellite for Israel. In 2009, Lt General Gabi Ashkenazi, chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, visited India. In 2011, Bharat Dynamics Limited wanted to buy Spike, man portable ‘fire-and-forget’, anti-tank missiles, 321 launchers, 8,356 missiles and 15 training simulators from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems in a billion dollar deal.

In 2017, three Indian naval ships visited Haifa and India inked a $2.5 billion contract to buy 40 Barak-8 MRSAMs. India is keen on buying Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’ and ‘David’s Sling’. In February 2019, India reportedly agreed to buy a fleet of Israeli Heron TP armed drones for $500 million.

RAW and Mossad have long had a secret liaison relationship. RAW is learning Israeli techniques of violent repression, racial profiling, tactics of suppression, urban warfare, mass surveillance, hacking of apps and other hybrid challenges. RAW is learning the science of digital lies.

Israel is also a leading exporter of equipment to spy on civilians. RAW wants to acquire Israeli social media monitoring software, phone interception tools, the recording of wireless and landline communications, decrypting messages, espionage equipment and mass surveillance technologies.

In Brazil, a far-right populist has won a WhatsApp election based on the systematic use of misinformation and fake news (mostly by automated bots). Nigeria just had its first WhatsApp elections based on doctored photos, false rumours and misleading information.

India’s 2019 elections will be the country’s first WhatsApp general election. The BJP is ready, Congress is not. The BJP is ready for the digitalised political theatre; Congress is still analogue. The BJP is ready with digitalised fake news, fake accounts and smear campaigns. Congress is not.

The BJP’s IT Cell has assembled a 900,000 WhatsApp-based ‘cell phone pramukh’ force, one for each polling station (India has 927,533), for micro-targeting and the systematic use of fake news, misinformation, text, audio, video, graphics and cartoons. India has 1.14 billion mobile phone connections, 460 million internet users, 300 million smart phones and 200 million monthly WhatsApp users.

Is the Indo-Israeli nexus now ready to manipulate the upcoming Indian WhatsApp election in favour of Modi?

The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad.

Email: [email protected] Twitter: @saleemfarrukh

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